Rose Hill Drive
Everybody loves lists - and nobody agrees with them. Any list, even RockinTown's Top 13 Albums of All-Time, can be ripped to shreds. So why have them? They're nice benchmarks. Making the list means you've arrived. But it can have a life of its own. Sometimes it's just the push a group needs to break through. Often though, it produces unrealistic expectations. Almost as lethal, the group gets dismissed out of hand. "If they are on such-and-such list they're sell-outs and can't be any good."
Then there are comparisons almost every band has to endure. Usually these are created by lazy critics who want a quick shorthand without having to think too hard. Of course, they compare the group to bands only they and their sycophant click have ever heard of. "This band sounds like a darker version of Pilchard's Bridgework crossed with Melanie Farber's pre-90s material. What? Even more troubling is when the group gets compared to a legend. It's unrealistic expectations (see above) all over again. The saving grace is when one of those legends makes some favorable noises about the group.
All of the above happened to Rose Hill Drive. Rolling Stone magazine listed the group as one of the "10 New Artists to Watch" in '07. Critics compared Rose Hill Drive to Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple and Cream - pretty heavy company. The Who's Pete Townshend was quoted saying how much he liked the group. The Who even asked Rose Hill Drive to open for them on U.S. dates. Not bad. In addition to The Who, Rose Hill Drive also opened for a diverse set of bands; the Black Crowes, Van Halen and Queens Of The Stone Age.
The Boulder, CO, group formed in '03 with brothers Jacob Sproul (bass guitar and vocals), Daniel Sproul (guitar, backup vocals), and high school friend Nathan Barnes (drums). In '06, they released their self-titled debut.
After grousing about being endlessly compared to Classic Rock bands, Rose Hill Drive issued "Moon Is The New Earth" in '08 - with all their Classic Rock stylings intact.
2006 Rose Hill Drive
2008 Moon Is The New Earth
Give Rose Hill Drive credit. When selecting Classic Rock influences they have good taste. It wouldn't do to emulate Blue Cheer or Vanilla Fudge and mercifully they pass on those.
OK, so let's get the comparisons out of the way. Sonically, "Brain Novocaine," from Rose Hill Drive's debut, could easily fit on The Who's "Tommy." On "Cross The Line" Jacob seems to be channeling Jack Bruce (Cream). But the remainder of the album is good ol' guitar riff Rock sung and played with enthusiasm and a loose precision.
With a riff, a few chords (not too many) and a guitar solo to round things out, Rose Hill Drive rip through the songs on "Moon Is The New Earth" in agreeable fashion (just like…).
The album opens with "Sneak Out" which leans on a barbed riff and break-neck vocals to cut through the cacophony (like an older, heavier version of Jet's "Are You Gonna Be My Girl"). The churning "Altar Junkie" is followed by the set's most melodic uptempo number "Laughing In The Streets."
While Rose Hill Drive has yet to capture the majestic grandeur evident in the most classic of Classic Rock they rarely falter when they've got some energy.