Rock and roll never died. There is a trivial need to classify genre and subgenre with today’s music. While this can often lead to interminable debates regarding lines of perspective that change from generation to generation, we can all agree we know a rock and roll album when we hear it. Through and through, The Rich Hands’ Take Care is a rock and roll album.
The Rich Hands have evolved not only as a band, but also as songwriters. They developed a fast-paced garage rock sound with three-minute jams that got you off your feet and dancing like nobody was watching. With Take Care, the band really takes their time to let the emotion of the song naturally come out. They have managed to keep their rock and roll energy while churning out songs that really emit the soul of the songwriting.
“We’d start [a song] and finish and say it needs more, “ bassist Matt Gonzalez explains. “Two or three minute songs can leave you wanting more, and I feel that we did just that [with this record]. We gave more.”
“We definitely wanted to write an album that touched every base,” drummer Nicholas Ivarra says. “We wanted some fast songs, some slow ones, some sad ones, some groovy ones.”
It shows more than ever on Take Care. Each song feels fully explored without dragging on. There are nuances that could easily come off as contrived, but instead flow so naturally that they embody the heart of the track. Every guitar solo, every background vocal, every drum fill is exactly where it should be like giant rock and roll puzzle pieces that all fit together perfectly.
This is the cleanest Rich Hands album to date. The band has definitely expanded their sound with Take Care. While the band is quite young, on this record they provoke a sound that equals that of musicians who have been doing this for decades. There is definitely a southern rock vibe to their sound, channeling a late 60s to mid 70s rock and roll aesthetic, but they also put their own spin on it.
“To say that we’ve fully immersed ourselves into a classic rock sound makes me feel like someone’s dad turned on 104.5 (former San Antonio classic rock station KZEP) in his truck and said ‘this is fuckin’ badass right here, man,’” Gonzalez elaborates. “To me it’s just rock and roll and rock and roll isn’t irrelevant or ‘classic’ like some may think.”
“I would say [the sound of the album] just really happened naturally. My approach to songwriting has always been to progress not really drastically, but make a different album than the last,” singer/guitarist Cody Mauser explains. “We’re all heavily influenced by the older generation of bands so it definitely shows.”
Yes, the influence is there but The Rich Hands aren’t pigeonholed to any kind of classic rock revival. Listening through Take Care is nostalgic and yet refreshing all at the same time. The structure on the track “Let it Ride” has shades of “Take it Easy” by the Eagles, while the opening guitar intro of track “Summer Sun” feels like a modern take on the opening guitar riff of The Rolling Stones’ “Gimme Shelter.” While those are some of the more obvious cues to rock and roll stalwarts, the entire album is riddled with different kinds of similar motifs that touch on a familiar sound without becoming a distraction. It can be very easy for a band to get lost in their influences, but The Rich Hands are to intertwine them flawlessly while staying true to themselves.
“I know we all felt this material on this album was our best sounding, so far,” Mauser says. “There’s been a real good natural progression for us since we started and I’m stoked to see where it takes us next.”
“We kind of wanted to make a more mature full-bodied album that reflected the music we enjoy,” Ivarra adds. “[This album] seemed to capture what we’re going for.”
There is a notion that the soul of rock and roll died when Elvis left the building or that it hasn’t been the same since our parents’ generation were driving fast cars and smoking dope on their high school football fields on a Friday night. To those that believe in that notion, it should only take one listen through of Take Care to see that this isn’t the case. The soul of rock and roll is alive and well and reverberating in the hearts of three dudes from San Antonio who just want to rock your face off.
“It’s a train, man,” Gonzalez philosophizes,”It’ll hit you hard and unexpectedly but you just gotta roll with it while it’s blaring its horn at you.”
Take Care will be released July 4, 2017. You can preorder it here.