The Vintage Caravan – “Arrival” (Nuclear Blast Records)
T’was a cold night almost 10 years ago that two 12 year olds looked up into the starry Icelandic sky and dreamt of sailing beyond the realms of their Norse ancestors into the forbidden world of rock stardom – and so The Vintage Caravan was borne! Now onto their 3rd album, one of those kids – Óskar Logi Ágústsson (guitar / vocals) – has now grown into a young man and matured, which is pretty clear on listening to “Arrival”. Compared to its predecessors, this album was more planned out, right down to searching for the right recording environment which the band found in a deserted fjord farm house. Initially playing retro stoner / psychedelic rock with adolescent spontaneity, “Arrival” is a somewhat more darker and heavier opus with less cloud surfing psychedelia and more prog elements taking a greater prominence although the overall style is still in the vein of late 60s / early 70s hard rock. There is also more epic feel, with the trio being even tighter than before from Óskar’s guitar work being as if blessed by the gods of the classic rock, matched in turn by the rumbling bass runs of Alexander Örn and the excellent drumming of Stefán Ari Stefánsson, who is as hard hitting as an erupting Icelandic volcano whilst having his own moments of being off the wall. The sound on “Arrival” is very reflective of Iceland’s wild, yet very natural landscape with a huge drum sound and clear, resonating mixes of the instruments, along with the grown up power in Óskar’s rocker voice. Think King Crimson, think Cream and chances are you’ll be listening to the break out of ‘Babylon’, the snapping Rush like ‘The Last Day Of Light’ or my personal fave, the pumped for more ‘Crazy Horses’. With the band undertaking some serious touring last year playing high profile festivals like Roadburn, Wacken and Summer Breeze, the material has a more live feel and rocks out more in that spirit heralding that The Vintage Caravan have indeed arrived, borne from the land of fire and ice. Now starring in movies like ‘Metalhead’ and being honored guests at the Wacken Metal Battle, this trio are no longer looking up as much as outwards at a sea of their own fans.