Whatever happened to rock and roll? There was a time when rock bands ruled the world, selling out stadiums and lighting the imaginations of music fans everywhere. Rock music was about having a good time, celebrating life, and enjoying the hell out of the moment. But somewhere along the way, we all decided we were too cool for that anymore, and we needed to move on to more artistic endeavors. Merely playing music and having fun with it wasn't good enough, everything had to push boundaries and break new ground. The soul of rock music was sapped out by the need to adhere to a preconceived notion of what it should be, and with each passing year the spark dimmed, until there was barely any trace of life left in the genre.
When you think of rock music these days, it's always bands that only connect to their predecessors because they play the same instruments. Today's angst-laden, allergic to fun approach to rock is a slap in the face to everyone who set the stage. It's impossible to think of Led Zeppelin, Rainbow, UFO, Thin Lizzy, or any of the other standard-bearers enjoying that kind of music, let alone playing it.
Thankfully, Gypsyhawk is not your average modern rock band. Instead of playing one-finger chords and singing about the depths of depression, Gypsyhawk is on a mission to bring real rock and roll back to the masses. They are the antidote to everything that has gone wrong with rock, or at least they want to be. Their goal is a lofty one, and something that sets the bar a bit too high for them to be able to declare victory.
As “Overloaded” unfolds, there's a sense of welcome comfort in the ragged riffs, vintage tones, and authentic vocals. It's a throwback to the classic rock that still dominates the airwaves and memories, harkening back to a better time for people who love big loud guitar music. The song isn't a classic by any stretch of the imagination, but it doesn't matter. The mere fact that this music exists right now gives it a margin for error. A fun song that doesn't quite work is always better than a miserable one that falls short.
The serpentine riff snaking through “The Fields” is addictive and a perfect moment of flare, giving the music a personality of its own. The rest of the band and the song fall into place, coming together into a nugget of classicism that can coexist with the songs already etched on our minds. It's a moment of greatness, that if continued, could have made “Revelry & Resilience” a great album. Other great songs appear on the album, namely the power-pop tinged “Frostwyrm” and the aggressive melodicism of “1345”. Ultimately, however, there aren't enough of these songs to make the album what it could have been.
Gypsyhawk have a lot going for them, and show plenty of promise throughout “Revelry & Resilience”. All the elements are there for them to breathe a bit of life into rock music, reminding us of what it used to be, and what it can be once again. Keeping in mind the enormity of that task, it's not a surprise that they can't manage to achieve the desired result. It's too much to ask of any band, but a step is made in the right direction with this album. We get eleven tracks of old-fashioned rock and roll that recall a simpler time, when people who love rock music had something worth listening to.
“Revelry & Resilience” is by no means a perfect album, but it has one thing going for it that more rock music needs to have; a sense of fun. These songs aren't trying to reinvent the wheel, nor are they trying to paint the next masterpiece. Gyspyhawk makes music to have a good time, and that energy comes through in the music, which even when it isn't hitting on all cylinders, is always enough to bring a bit of a smile to a jaded fan.