Monday, 8 June 2015

The Vintage Caravan - 'Arrival' (Album Review)


Album Type: Full-Length
Date Released: 15/05/2015
Label: Nuclear Blast
‘Arrival’ CD//DD//LP track Listing
1. Last Day of Light
2. Monolith
3. Babylon
4. Eclipsed
5. Shaken Beliefs
6. Crazy Horses
7. Sandwalker
8. Innerverse
9. Carousel
10. Winter Queen
The Vintage Caravan is
Óskar Logi | Guitar/Vocals
Guðjón Reynisson | Drums
Alex Örn | Bass

Review
The Vintage Caravan is a new one for me, only having uncovered them on their third full length release, yet I am impressed from the first notes of ‘Last Day of Light’ to the last riff of ‘Winter Queen’, the album impressive.
Formed in 2006 (they were 12, 12 people!) they practiced their arses off before emerging in 2009 and releasing their first album in 2011, followed by ‘Voyage’ in 2014. With a European tour already under their belt, 2 shows at the Roadburn Festival and their 2 previous albums, the young band have already achieved so much
The thrumming beat introducing ‘Last Day of Light’ is almost animalistic, simple yet sublime with clean presentation reminiscent of tribal drums, it hammers gently requesting permission to enter before the guitar riffs grab a hold of the lugholes and refuse to let go.  With a groovy 70’s twist the vocals kick in smoothly completing the threesome with aplomb.  With a guitar solo a third of the way through that quite frankly leaves me in a pile of drool, the start of the caravan journey is a good one.
‘Monolith’ is second up, full of groove, swagger and heavy chords, it is simply immense.  So easy going, yet interesting and leaving no room for boredom, just piling on the riffs, delivering a constant thrum through the strong drums and Logi’s vocals keeping the intrigue level cranked up until the end. The song writing here, with many of the other songs, is impeccable.
I flow through the album on a delicious, hazed, prog journey; images of flower filled meadows and gnomes hiding behind toadstools, emerging straight from the pages of an Enid Blyton novel. The songs hold strong, fast paced in the middle, slower in the beginning and at the end, each and every one is wrapped seductively around a clean structure with regular tempo changes to ramp up the interest.
‘Crazy Horses’ is a filthy beast; from the start a dirty riff that strikes to the very core, the monotonous drums giving a sludge tinged edge backed by the earthy bass to begin. And then; a ramped up Logi enters, bringing the energy and buzz of a 2 year old on a sugar high with classic rock vocals resplendent in simplicity, yet  exudeelegance that will have you boogying round the kitchen in no time. A stand out track for me and one that is like a fine wine, it gets better with age and as with all good songs, it also gets better the more times you hear it, marking this one for a future classic.
‘Carousel’ is dripping with potential, and easily a contender for the next Bond film there is the underlying acid trip, yes, but mingled with that prog/classic touch they do so well. The bass solo alone is worth a listen as Orn leads us onto a fantastical, aurally complex and ultimately rewarding trek of the senses, leaving one dribbling in the corner and rocking slightly.
‘Winter Queen’ brings the album to an epic 8 minute conclusion, rounding up everything that is fantastic about a band and has made them on to this writers list of firm favourites. A relaxed rocker effort, it is perfectly timed with a creeping build up and meticulous solos that astound the senses and leave an imprint that, happily, nothing will erase.
This trio of immensely talented musicians seem to have sprung fully formed, instruments in tune and ready to astound, from the womb, musicality and talent ooze from their pores and infect their aura. Every single one of them is immensely skilled, the ability to express such emotion is not taught, you either have it or you don’t and they do…in spades.
Bringing to the fore the likes of Paul Gilbert, Eddie Marcolin and Billy Sheehan, not for comparison or similarity, purely for their insane talent and incredible artistry.
This delightful trio appeal to every part of my music loving heart and soul, their bluesy classic rock, their psychedelic leanings, their prog and doom twists and slants, all of it works harmoniously with a heavy enough sound even for the metal head in me to rejoice.
Words by: Kat Hilton
‘Arrival’ is available everywhere now
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