Ken Leighton 5:45 p.m., July 27
With their debut studio effort, San Diego all-star band Midnight Rivals has produced a beer-soaked, full-tilt rock ’n’ roll record. Guitarists-songwriters Morgan Smith and Mike Santos have crafted tunes that reflect influences that range from Brit essentials Stones, Faces, and Who to American desert-rocker Gram Parsons.
Opener "Do That Tease" is an ass-shaker that will speak to anyone who's ever been in a friends-with-benefits relationship with a psycho who also happens to be a great lay. "Kings Are Queens" opens with Who-like sonics and then pummels with drum work courtesy of Mark Maigaard and solid bass lines from Petey X. "Help Me Please" keeps things moving on a hip-shaking course, while "Western Sahara Desert Shakedown" recounts one man's unfortunate treatment at the hands of Arab nomads, driven by tasty guitar riffs and punctuated with a solid brass backup.
"Lines" is reminiscent of Gram Parsons-inspired Stones cuts like "Dead Flowers"; in fact, this song would have fit onto either Exile or Sticky Fingers. "Bollywood Star" starts off with a lazy guitar riff and some pretty evocative lyrics, then busts into a rumbling, rocking, voodoo drive with vocalist Charlie Ware demanding to know "Where the hell is Bombay? Who's that man with no teeth? Where's that pipe and hashish? Why's that cow on a leash?"
The collection closes with the heartfelt opus "Takes A Little Time," a lilting piece that speaks of rocky relationships, daydream longings, and offers the bitter wisdom that "Sometimes the best help is knowing there's no help at all."
(1) Do That Tease
(2) Kings Are Queens
(3) Help Me Please
(4) Western Sahara Desert Shakedown
(5) So Far Away
(6) House of Suns
(8) Bollywood Star
(9) These Arms
(10) Genghis Blues
(11) Takes a Little Time