Out Now

(Frontiers)

 

For Def Leppard 2017 is all about looking back 30 years to a summer when the band exploded on both sides of the Atlantic and Hysteria set a new benchmark for rock records.

Vivian Campbell, however, didn’t join Sheffield’s finest for another five years and all this anniversary talk must be a little difficult to deal with.

The response? Campbell continues to reprise Ronnie James Dio’s best work with the Ramblin’ Man Fair-bound Last In Line and now Riverdogs have returned with one of the breakout albums of the summer.

California sounds like the natural follow-up to the band’s self-titled debut and best reflects Campbell’s love of Thin Lizzy-inspired blues rock. The veteran guitarist lived the dream during his short stint alongside Scott Gorham and sounds perfectly at ease on the radio-friendly opener American Dream, stunning Something Inside and the deeply ironic You’re Too Rock And Roll.

Rob Lamothe and Nick Brophy share vocal duties on a record that harks back to hard rock’s heyday without ever sounding dated: California is a classy comeback record that leaves 2011’s World Gone Mad in the shade.