Fit For Rivals – ‘Freak Machine’ – Album Review

 

fit2What happens when you mix a hint of Halestorm with a splash of Juliette and the Licks, throw in a pinch of The Pretty Reckless and a dash of The Donnas?  You get something like the five piece female fronted rock sensation Fit for Rivals.  The Florida natives have opened for national headliners such as Flyleaf, Hoobastank and Halestorm, and with one listen to their latest release ‘Freak Machine’ it’s easy to see why.  The follow up to the band’s 2009 debut ‘Steady Damage’ is pure rock and roll goodness, with plenty of goodies to delight both devoted fans and newcomers to the group’s fresh devil-may-care delivery.

The band kicks things off with “Hit Me,” an infectious and aggressive hand clapper with a sassy spunk that sets the stage for the rest of the record.  Just like the band itself, the song has a youthful energy and an air of defiance, thanks in part to front woman Renee Phoenix. With a voice like Lzzy Hale and an aura like Allison Mosshart, Phoenix’s attributes are evident and all the more magnified by the timing and musicality of her band mates.  At times the album has a peppy, pop infused punk flavor, such as in the title track “Freak Machine.” Honestly, this song should come with a warning label that it features a hook that is so catchy that you will inevitably find yourself chanting at random intervals throughout the day.  Other times however, the group opts for a slower, more seductive sound that takes its time to peak.  “The Devil (Inside)” is one example of this, as is “Gimmie The Pain,” a trippy track that burns slow like a cigarette in a jazz club.  The terrifically twisted love song “Special Kind of Crazy,” is another stand out, featuring a surfer style riff and a sweet guitar solo that has a nostalgic 90’s grunge feel to it.

When asked how the band viewed ‘Freak Machine,’ Phoenix replied, “Our new material is definitely more dynamic, and we hope that our fans can have some fun with this one.”  Indeed the record is straight up rock fun, with just enough diversity to keep it interesting.  Fans of bands like Icon for Hire, Stitched Up Heart and New Years Day should take to Fit For Rivals immediately, as this group not only runs in the same vein as the aforementioned successful artists, but is equally as talented as well.

 

Kelly Mason / Fuze Magazine

 

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