Despite ‘Gateways’ being their fourth studio album release and hearing great things about The Vintage Caravan (people know my love for blues based rock). I am sorry to say that this is the first time I have listened to the Icelandic trio. A band I am now very much looking forward to delving into their back catalogue. I refrain from using the term “retro rock” or “vintage rock” when describing their style. There are indeed nods to Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin but they also have a modern edge to their songs. These guys are firmly in the camp alongside Monster Truck, The Picturebooks, Kadavar, The Bad Flowers etc. This isn’t a revival this is the next generation!
Opener ‘Set Your Sights’, sets the groove going, with riffs the right side of fuzzy, tight drumbeats and an energy that builds up throughout until the blistering guitar solo comes in and knocks you out of your shoes. This set the pace for the record and made me wonder why on earth I hadn’t given these guys a chance before.
‘The Way’ follows and this track for me is very Lenny Kravitz-esque the riff oozing with as much soul, melody and Rock N Roll as anything by Mr Kravitz himself. A great big chorus that has you singing on second hearing. A track I’m sure would go down great live. ‘Reflections’ with its thundering infectious bass line, courtesy of Alexander Örn Númason has your head nodding from the get go. With a groove so consuming I can already feel myself grabbing my bass guitar to jam along to it.
‘On The Run’, takes the pace down a notch, and the intro has you seeing those lighters (or these days mobile phones) in the light. You can see the crowd singing this one back to The Vintage Caravan and loving every second of it as the sun sets down at an open air show. This pace continues with ‘All This Time’ and this is not a criticism, for true art needs light and shade and The Vintage Caravan have this in abundance, these may be slower paced songs but the songwriting certainly doesn’t suffer for it.
‘Hidden Streams’ and ‘Reset’ pick the pace back up. The latter being stuck in my head since listening to the album, a great riff, solid rock track, what’s not to love about that. ‘Nebula’ is almost progressive in its tone and style. Possibly the longest track on the record and with its sci-fi-esque sounds certainly adds another colour to The Vintage Caravans brilliant musical pallet.
‘Farewell’ is a slower paced number and one that reminds me very much of The Temperance Movement, with its right side of fuzzy riff and big chorus. This is a stand out track for me personally. ‘Tune Out’ is a great slow album closer, like when you have been out to a party and it’s had it’s ups and downs. It reaches it’s conclusion with everything winding down after a great time. This is what ‘Tune Out’ is for me.
‘Gateways’ is a solid album, with various textures like a rich tapestry, or a great piece of artwork with various shades and colours. I would recommend this album to anyone who loves great hard blues based, psych tinged Rock N Roll. The Vintage Caravan are on tour in the UK this November and I for one will be getting tickets to this. Having listened to this album I want to hear/see these songs live. I will also most definitely be going to look into their back catalogue and correcting my error of not listening to these guys sooner!
The Vintage Caravan Are:
Óskar Logi Ágústsson – lead vocals, electric guitar
Alexander Örn Númason – bass guitar, backing vocals
Stefán Ari Stefánsson – drums, percussion
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