The Revivalists: ‘Take Good Care’ delivers on multiple levels

Michael Smyth / Tahoe Onstage

David Shaw and The Revivalists rocked downtown Reno last May.

The Revivalists’ highly anticipated new album “Take Good Care” is a sonic endeavor that delivers impeccably on multiple levels. From the first note of the debut track, the listener is bathed by the warmth of the gospel-like vocals and deep resonance of the bass. Like a cleansing dip in the mighty Mississippi, the soothing vibrations wash over and transport us to the “Otherside of Paradise,” as the track title implies.

The gentle introduction exemplifies what the New Orleans-based rock band does best, sets a scene. The Revivalists do such and amazing job orchestrating and arranging each of their songs and there is an undeniable presence of musical brilliance on every track. While each song differs greatly, they all share the same quality of polished perfection. The subtleties of the production can’t be overstated. Every instrument sits in perfect balance with every vocal line, every dynamic change supports the song’s theme. Their use of space and instrumentation is truly incredible and creates the perfect pedestal for vocalist David Shaw to deliver.

Every player in The Revivalists is undeniably noteworthy, not because of shredding, over-the-top musicianship, but due to unselfish discretion and commitment to the good of each song.”

And deliver he does. While the band definitely piques any listener’s interest, Shaw’s compelling  vocal control, power and appeal is the lure on the album. His ability reels us in on the track “All My Friends.” He seamlessly moves from breathy whisper to full-bore yell and takes us all along for the ride. Supported by the immovable foundation of the band, as well as harmonized vocal layers, his voice shines through like a beacon in the bayou fog.

Every player in The Revivalists is undeniably noteworthy, not because of shredding, over-the-top musicianship, but due to unselfish discretion and commitment to the good of each song. The musicians’ ability to check their egos at the door and play what’s best for the song helped manifest something greater than any individual effort. But I must say my personal standout was bassist George Gekas. His use of tone, space and feel was the reason I listened to the album multiple times. His McCartney-esque approach to bass, blended with Southern funk, create a distinct feel on each tune.

While I did feel overwhelmingly positive about this album, it is not without faults — primarily its lyrical simplicity. Sometimes the use of easily digestible lyrics can create a more impactful message, and in some cases that definitely rang true. Especially on the last track, “Shoot You Down.” The simplicity on this song is beautiful, poignant, and helps the message of the work resonate. It’s a truly powerful song, particularly in our nation’s current state.

But the mundane lyrics on many of the tracks actually distracted me from the vibrant vocals and deliberate music. I felt like I had received this elaborate and pristinely wrapped gift and opened it to find… a bread maker. I wouldn’t go so far as to say the album is superficial, but some tracks flirt with it. Admittedly, the balance of pop music is a precarious one. Most contemporary pop albums barely skim the surface in terms of the expression of the human experience. The Revivalists are certainly wading in the waters, taking us by the hand on an amazing journey with them. And when they decide to fully submerge, they may very well become one of the best bands around.

— Dan Green

  • The Revivalists
    ‘Take Good Care’
    Release: Nov. 9, 2018
    Label: Loma Vista Recordings

About Dan Green

Dan Green is a journalist from the Lake Tahoe area. An active musician for more than 15 years, he brings his seasoned and unique musical perspective to his interviews and articles. He is a guitarist and vocalist for Black Star Safari and Ten Foot Tiger. He now resides in Sacramento.

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