It was one of those normal daily occurrences. Another promo email for another band that fans are yet to consider as established, that have remained kind of underground, but who released a debut almost a decade ago. It was just another release.
Except for it wasn’t. Not at all.
Pressing play whirled me back a few decades to numerous stateside locations in just a few seconds with the opening bars of a randomly selected track out of the ten available. ‘Tango Decadence’ found me questioning whether I was seeing a new surprise release from QUOTSA under a new moniker. Then randomly choosing another, ‘Coast To Coast’, and I physically began doing a dance similar to ‘Shake Your Tailfeather’ and the white man’s overbite, right there on my sofa.
I was grooving my little metal New Rocks off with genuine excitement at this retro, yet, sparklingly modern funky riff infused rock from Sweden. Imagine if Ray Charles had decided to grow a huge beard and pick up a guitar, and begin wearing flares whilst jamming with Hendrix and had a baby with Janis Joplin? Yeah, that. It has that much soul.
The title of the album? The Search Goes On, and the artist? Kamchatka.
Three playthroughs later and I was blurting all over Facebook and Twitter that I was in love. And I am.
KAMCHATKA‘s sound — which has roots in both Miami and Stockholm — is truly groove and hook driven, more so than I’ve heard in a long time. In recent years, the band has toured the U.S. and Europe with Clutch, which seems to be a perfect pairing. The band recently signed a deal with Despotz to release this, their fifth album and brought in Per Wiberg (ex-Opeth) for bass and vocal duties, turning them into a trio. Per is also the album producer, and he’s done a stunning job with all three .
Production wise, pretty flawless insofar as retaining an old school bluesy vibe but not resorting to a bog standard ‘we made this in our garage on the Bayou on an 8 track’ tactic which seems to be so prevalent at the moment. Everything sits wonderfully together, even the Hawkwind-esque keyboards.
Musically, this is all about matching the grooves and patterns from each instrument spotlessly. Each holding its own yet bouncing effortlessly off each other and giving you the choice to follow one or many of the definitely written to make you bounce parts. Sweeping choruses and punchy drums link arms with wicka-wacka guitar fills and gorgeous, impassioned bluesy vocals.
For me, what really wins everything ever for this release – however accomplished all the other parts are – are the funk soaked sexy as hell bass lines. Often extremely simple, but a very audible backbone and crafted of the most beautiful tones. My neck is testament to this as I was unable to stop nodding.
Not all tracks on The Search Goes On are up tempo and booty shakin’. After the first five have left you grinning and pumped, Cross The Distance slowed the pace somewhat to a regular heartbeat and threw in some noodly guitar, and Broken Man took it down further a notch to a heartbreaker tone and sounded incredibly like an alternate – read: sexy – version of Elton John’s “Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word”. Dragons pushed into traditional Hendrix guitar territory and the album began picking up pace once more.
Having listened to the album multiple times now, I appreciate why they dropped in the three slower tunes smack bang in the middle of the album one after another, had they been threaded throughout, the impact of all proceeding tracks would have been akin to riding a rollercoaster and the momentum as placed, was perfect the way it has been laid out. That said, the bouncy as hell Thank You For Your Time riff would have been welcome at any point in proceedings.
The outstanding track for me is the title track, The Search Goes On. I want you to listen to the guitars and I defy you not to close your eyes and totally lose yourself in the ever changing flow. Paired with the effortless vocal lines and the stunning harmonies, it’s an almost progressive orgasm on the ears.
I’m still salivating at how fresh yet retro Kamchatka sound, and The Search Goes On should by rights propel them to the pinnacle of recognition they richly deserve.
If you are looking for a new favourite rock band in 2014 that combine myriad rich history yet sounds bang up to date, the search does not go on. It ends here. Kamchatka are what you are looking for.