Fresh from recording a live studio session at the famous Abbey Road Studios, London’s River Hounds are one of the most exciting new bands on the UK rock scene.
The quartet first formed a couple of years ago, although Richard Grisman (lead vocals) and Tony Crumpton (bass and vocals) had played music together for years, as had Dimi Balev (lead guitar) and Manol Marekov (drums). But River Hounds saw the two long-standing partnerships merge.
They released their eponymous debut EP back in 2017, then released its follow-up – River Hounds II – the following year. But we were first introduced to them as they’d just finished up recording a three-track live session at Abbey Road, which was released in March.
As the band explain: “We were approached by a producer from the US and were offered the opportunity to record at Abbey Road, it was part of a session they were doing with lots of different unsigned artists.
“It was obviously amazing but also quite challenging. Because it was being recorded live but also filmed we had to nail the tunes to a studio standard but also perform them like we were on stage, but without a crowd. Thankfully we nailed it!”
The session gives us a superb insight into the band’s ‘modern rock’n’roll’ sound, with a mixture of hard rock and more laid-back anthems, but fantastic musicianship throughout.
First up is the superb She, which begins with a guitar intro and drops into a verse dominated by Rich’s impressive vocals then big cries of “She puts a smile on every face, She will brighten up the darkest days.” An extended second verse is supported by a cool guitar lick, which dives straight into a huge wah-infused solo. Watch it here:
The more relaxing Runaway is next, opening with a light guitar lick that continues under Rich’s engaging vocals. That flows into a more upbeat chorus, which gives way to a smooth little guitar solo that builds up to a more intense chorus that ends with Rich’s big cries of “Runaway.”
And it ends on a rockier note with Freddie’s Alright, which opens up with a cool darting guitar riff then the catchy vocals “Freddie’s got a gun, Shoots it at the sun, He’s always on the run. Lights another fag, Takes another drag, Canes another bag. Soaring for the sky, Always getting high, Never gonna die. Freddie’s got a fun, Shoots it at the sun, Would you like to come along?”
That feeds into repeats of “Freddie’s alright,” then a little guitar lick drops into another catchy verse. A second chorus follows, then a huge guitar solo takes over before more repeats of the chorus vocals. Give it a watch below:
As for their recorded EPs, expect plenty of classic hard rock with Rich’s big engaging vocals and plenty of guitar riff mastery. Case in point being the excellent Sold Down The Road, the opener to their second EP, which begins with a cool riff, then big cries from Rich that are answered by quick returns of the riff. A big singalong chorus follows, and gives way to an awesome guitar solo. Check it out below:
But perhaps my favourite track of theirs is the debut EP’s opening track Get High With Me. Stabbing guitars open up and continue under Rich’s vocals, then cool laid-back guitars feed into wild blitzes of wild high-pitched twirls. A diving guitar riff feeds into a cool chorus in which the guitars almost completely drop out, returning with a little flurry of a solo.
A heavier version of the chorus “Well it’s high time you get high with me, You can take it or leave it but you’ll never be free, It’s just a matter of time before you start to see, That long is the road when you’re dead on your feet” is followed by a big prolonged guitar solo. Then catchy “Na na na” vocals come in over guitar chords and a huge high-pitched, fast-paced guitar solo. This is a ridiculously good track, and you can give it a listen below:
The band, you won’t be too surprised to learn, are predominantly influenced by the likes of Jimmi Hendrix and Led Zeppelin, as well as Oasis and more modern band like Rival Sons and The Temperance Movement.
And when it comes to what inspires their music they tell us: “Real life. Most of the songs are about either people we know or about things that have happened to us. The main themes are generally our lives, drink, drugs and occasionally politics.”
River Hounds’ focus for the rest of the year is to get a record deal. So, to any labels out there – come get them! You can also see the band live for yourself at The Century Club in London on Saturday (22 June) – tickets are here. And it sounds like you’d be in for a night, as the band say: “We’re lovely people and if you come to one of our gigs, we’ll happily get very drunk with you after!”