I suppose it’s understandable that The Vintage Caravan‘s Voyage hasn’t garnered as much press as could be expected from a band on Nuclear Blast. The Swedish retro-rock movement continues to roll along, and beside releases from bands like Blues Pills and Spiders it’s easy to get overshadowed. But wait! The Vintage Caravan are from Iceland! Coulda fooled me!
So I’ve pretty much blown what Voyage sounds like but while TVC do share similarities with the above bands, they do have a different sound. For one, the young band have a male singer (who also plays guitar) whose name, and those of the rhythm section as well, is not very North American keyboard friendly. And I don’t want to mess it up.
Their sound is based in 60s/70s rock. It’s got good energy on the energetic tunes, sweet riffs and plenty of vocal hooks. They totally nail the retro vibe they are going for but it sounds more modern than some of their contemporaries (Kadavar, etc). Take that as you will.
For nearly an hour they move back and forth between energetic rockers and more mellow tunes, sometimes within a song, such as “The King’s Voyage.” It’s full of psychedelia (as any 11+ minute rock song is bound to be) but also features some of the band’s best guitar work.
Subtle prog influences are also found here and there as well as a pseudo-QOTSA bounce (“Midnight Meditation”) and dozy/dreamy moments with a vocal flavour similar to John Denver (“Winterland”). Outside the solos, Voyage remains relatively chill and groovy but does suffer from inconsistency. The Reykjavik trio shows a maturity beyond their fresh faces which points to a successful future in their niche market. However, the disparity between their rocking and casual sides could have listeners coming and going. Overall, the band shows promise but the retro-rock thing is getting very close to saturation and they’ve still got some work to do if they want to rise above the pack.
I’ll give them bonus points for that album cover though.
Released January 21, 2014 on Nuclear Blast.