Let’s travel back in time. Rock ‘n Roll is about attitude, whiskey, and not-so-thinly-veiled innuendos. Tunes soar with awe-inspiring choruses and blazing guitar solos. Every front man has a respectable amount of chest hair.
If you’re thinking, “Sister, I’d hop right in that time machine before you can say ‘Sunset Strip,'” then I’d like to introduce you to The Aviators.
These guys are making music in the classic rock vein. Any analysis of their fourth album, Flowers and Moonshine, will inevitably reference many of those bands. The Aviators list Aerosmith, ZZ Top, and AC/DC as influences. The fingerprints of those ’70’s and 80’s rock gods are all over this 9-song collection.
However, the Southern California rockers have been playing their good-time tunes at venues like The Whisky for a decade. You don’t need to break ground when you can craft songs that are this good.
The title track leads the album with a southern rock groove that brings to mind The Black Crowes. Singer August Young swaggers through the catchy-as-hell chorus, weaving lyrics like “cheap flowers and boxed wine make her mine all mine” through Daniel Boone’s smoky-barroom guitar.
Do sultry and skillful guitar solos get you going? Good, because they’re all over Flowers and Moonshine..
Speaking of things that “get you going,” I’m an absolute sucker for a killer, catchy chorus. That melody-magic that you can’t put into words. The wistful, Lynyrd Skynyrd-inspired “Going Down Swinging” and the soaring “One Last Cigarette” are exactly what I’m talking about. The Aviators really know how to craft a song that digs in and makes you feel something.
The album’s first single is “Goodbye to the Rain.” It’s a classic rock love song that would make both Guns ‘n Roses and AC/DC proud. This tune would be absolutely lighting up arenas 30 years ago.
Flowers and Moonshine lays down a thick bass groove Courtesy of Matt Reid with “Time,” as Young croons that old story–time for rock ‘n roll shenanigans, but not for love–with attitude to spare. “Set it Off” is a Van-Halen-inspired rocker, demanding you to “Keep on rockin’ til your face turns red!” While “Blind” is an interesting mix. Think STP meets Motley Crue.
The Aviators’ admiration for Led Zeppelin is apparent as the last two songs on Flowers and Moonshine take a more serious turn. “Destroyer” brings impressive performances from each member of the band. The song’s sinister lyrics tell the tale: “Fire in his eyes, blood on is hands/side by side with the devil he rides into the bad lands.” While the closing jams don’t get me dancing as much as the first half of the album, the guitar and vocals on “Destroyer,” and “Grim Reaper” are killer.
For me, “new classic” artists such as The Aviators, Them Evils, and (If I must) Greta Van Fleet are a breath of fresh air compared to the stale offerings from mainstream Active Rock. Turn on the radio and you’ll hear tired jams fueled by Natty Light and former frat-bro frustration.
I’d much rather rock out with The Aviators, who are channeling a time in rock when admission to the stage included talent and songwriting prowess, and being a badass was the law of the land.
If you enjoyed the good ole days of rock the first time it came around…or if, you’re a mid-30’s Midwest gal who is pretty sure she was born a decade too late, grab your sunglasses, and hop in in that time machine with me. We’ve got some rockin’ to do.