The five tracks are so diverse it's evident no cookie-cutters were used here! Your ears are met with rock, pop, blues and even a little country. While some listeners might find this confusing, it was just the opposite for me… RSO are obviously music fans, so it’s no surprise their debut would be a genre-spanning offering. The only surprise for me was that “RISE” is a five-track EP but the plan is to release another EP soon followed by a full album in February next year.
The title track is a rockin’ number, reminiscent of Sambora’s ex band’s New Jersey working class hero mantra. Lyrics include “Break the chains, stand up tall, come out swinging don't take the fall” and while it packs a punch with what we can assume are duelling guitars it is still the weakest track for me.
Orianthi takes the vocal lead on ‘Masterpiece’ with Sambora coming in for the chorus in a vocal exchange introducing his voice for his own verses. But the magic happens in the intertwined moments and let’s not forget those guitar riffs!
‘Truth’ is a beautiful ballad about not letting anything stand in your way in the pursuit of real love. A piano-driven tune again highlighting the perfectly blending harmonies of RSO – proving this pair is not just about chunky guitars or heavy rock riffs.
Probably my pick for stand-out track is ‘Take Me’, I say probably because my favourite track does change each time I listen, something else to love about this release. This number is Sambora in raw & honest form, think ‘You Can Only Get So High’ from his 2012 “Aftermath Of The Lowdown” album. This is most definitely an insight into the guitarist’s life and most notably the last four years following his departure from current Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame nominees Bon Jovi; the band he co-founded in 1983. The singer-songwriter is brutally honest admitting he’s made mistakes, hopes he’s not a joke and asks us to take him on face value. With a Latin flavour, flamenco is his guitar of choice and even trumpet is heard here, again demonstrating the diverse musicianship of RSO.
Final track ‘Good Times’ brings with it that country feel. A fun, upbeat and infectious song which features an at-first-listen ill-placed rap but after a few times it makes sense. When I first heard the EP this was my fav track, considering I work in Australian country music it’s probably no surprise. This track might close out the EP but you are definitely left wanting more! (For die-hards or even curious fans, grab your copy of “Rise” from the official site for your bonus track, a reggae version of ‘Good Times’)
For fans of Sambora and Orianthi solo who aren’t quite sure what to make of this release or have already filed it under some unmentionable name, I would say give it time, some have said it’s a grower. Yes it’s different but for fans of Sambora it should answer some questions… for disillusioned Bon Jovi fans like myself it was a welcome change. Plus I have no doubt the chunky guitars & blues/rock riffs are on their way. Give “Rise” a chance, you might be surprised!
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