The Pacific Northwest does Southern Roots rock
'Southern rock' is always going to be a divisive subject, especially if something is lost in the distance between America and the UK. Luckily, Sweetkiss Momma's "Revival Rock" is about as fundamental as it gets, from the music right down to the cover art. It's five guys who combine good ol' honest songwriting with comfy traditional style melodies. Which means you're either going to love it or hate it.
As the title suggests, "Revival Rock" draws heavily on its influences from the Southern rock and soul greats and really can't offer too much in the way of adding something new to the genre. Not that that's the point of roots music, it's more about sounding 'authentic' and they have that in abundance. 'Ready To Go' and 'Son of the Mountain' are standard driving Southern rock and there's very little to get excited about over that. 'Slow Fade's melody sounds ominously familiar, but there are some hidden gems in the radio-friendly 'Mercy Love' and country-tinged 'Strange Fire', as well as the slow-burn 'To Help A Man'. The album definitely improves as it goes along, although typically it sticks to the same tried-and-trusted formula: it sounds like the band on stage at a night out in an American country bar.
It's quite easy for this album to slip into the background after a while, which is great for it soundtracking a night out, but isn't going to make for a 'must have' listen. The unusual guitar on 'Sugar in the Raw' provides one of the most unique moments of the album, as does the immediate introduction to 'Good God Woman'. But tracks like 'Ounce Left of Pride' and 'Sweet Little Thing' are easily forgettable.
You can't fault the devotion to the genre, well-crafted songs and great musicianship. If you already have a fondness for this kind of rock, and that could be anything from The Allman Brothers Band to Black Crowes there's probably something here for you. Highlights for those with a passing interest include 'Mercy Love' and 'Good God Woman' which handle that duality in Southern rock of the spiritual and the physical with authentic angst. It's not going to convert new listeners, but is a very creditable addition to the genre and with any luck will help the band find a major label deal.