Review: The Revivalists Pour on the Hooks for the Fan-Friendly ‘Pour It Out Into The Night’

3 out of 5 stars

Videos by American Songwriter

It took nearly a decade of non-stop work and one popular hit (“Wish I Knew You” in 2015), but as of 2018, New Orleans’ The Revivalists graduated to playing large arenas, selling out such noted venues as Red Rocks Amphitheatre. After a five-year break, the octet returns with a fifth studio effort which should augment their crossover appeal.

It’s difficult to describe the band without resorting to the “groove-heavy” sound of fellow tuneful acts like The Wallflowers and Widespread Panic. In lead singer/co-songwriter David Shaw, though, the group features a frontman with soulful pipes that make anything he sings alluring. 

This set moves further from the funk, jazz, and rhythmic blues of their hometown. They continue to shift towards a rather generic, easily digestible combination of roots pop/rock with plenty of hooks for fans but not too many to get accused of being commercial sellouts. 

From peppy folk (“Wait for the Sun”) and Dire Straits-styled story songs (“Down in the Dirt”) to sing-along indie rock (“Good Old Days”), torchy Elton John-inspired piano ballads (“Say Goodbye”) and thudding hard rock riffage (“The Long Con”), they hit plenty of stylistic bases. Producer Rich Costey keeps the vibe radio ready although when he aims for the cheap seats on lighter-waving anthems like “Only You,” the heavy-handed approach gets tiresome. Frustratingly, the group’s horns are nearly invisible.

As co-writers, Shaw and guitarist Zack Feinberg nail enough catchy choruses, as on the jaunty opening “Kid,” the slow sway of “Alive” and the percussive bump/funk underpinning “When I Got You,” to keep the music bubbling. The psychedelic, mostly acoustic title track closes the door on this eclectic set. It’s Shaw imagining the future with a child who keeps him grounded in this crazy mixed-up world with the realization that ultimately he lives a sweet sweet life.

That final concept can be extended to The Revivalists’ upward career momentum, one which should continue to rise with this fan and ear-friendly release.   

Photo by Alysse Gafkjen / Press Here Publicity

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