By Your Side
After a brief fling with psychedelia and a typically relentless run of roadwork, The Black Crowes get back to the basics on the hard-charging and hot-rockin' By Your Side. Anchored as always by brothers Chris and Rich Robinson, the disc captures the Stones/Small Faces style of gritty splendor that's been the band's calling card since the dawn of the 1990s. The Robinsons set the tone swiftly on the crunching album opener “Go Faster” and the power punch rarely relents the rest of the way. Double-layered guitars drive the snarling lead single “Kicking My Heart Around,” while chunky organ riffs wrap around Chris Robinson's raspy vocals in one of the set's other standouts, “Heavy.” Occasionally the Crowes fall into metal-edged traps (“Virtue and Vice”), but those moments are few on what's generally a rip-roaring set.