The Crystal Caravan

With Them You Walk Alone

Written by: BV on 15/03/2013 10:13:05

The Crystal Caravan is a retro-rock act from Umeå Sweden, following in the seemingly long and proud tradition of hard-rocking swedes, though following might not be the right word since The Crystal Caravan has actually been around for quite some time now and is slowly starting to gain a following. Their third and therefore newest release “With Them You Walk Alone” is a new take on their otherwise jam-based sound, as more consideration has gone into creating slightly progressive soundscapes and the production is also generally a bit tighter sounding.

The opening track “Hour of the Wolf” is at first listen a solid track with a pounding bass line in the intro, soon to be followed by a great guitarriff, and it actually sounds like something that should have been made specifically for their previous album “Against the Rising Tide”. – But that was just my initial thought. As time progresses the track slowly evolves and starts to possess some of the slightly more progressive, somewhat psychedelic aspects that the press material had promised the album would contain, with the introduction of frontman Niklas Gustafsson’s very characteristic vocals and some unusually long guitar solos dominating the soundscape, whilst demanding attention. The powerful riffing of Björn Lohmander and Stefan Bränberg is exciting on this track, but somehow I can’t shake the feeling that this just isn’t as great as seeing them live – which I have on previous occasions.

“Drifting”, the longest running track on the album (clocking in at around 9 minutes) is The Crystal Caravans most potent flirt with psychedelia-infused retro rock, as the chiming yet heavy guitars make the foundation for Gustafsson’s soulful vocal performance on the track, solidly supported by Pierre Svensson on the bass and the laid back, yet extremely focused drum/percussion work by Christopher Olsson and Annika Bränberg. Despite the unnervingly long runtime of the track, I feel entertained throughout by the small twists in the music – nothing truly fancy, but then again not over the top either – the combination is just about right, but once again I would absolutely love to hear this in a live setting or perhaps just with a more “live-sounding” production to it.

In other words, despite the fact that their material has been vastly improved since “Against the Rising Tide” the production of the album still lacks some of that punch that is so unmistakably characteristic of The Crystal Caravan in a live setting. Still, with tracks like long-runner “Drifting” it is hard to ask more of The Crystal Caravan as they exemplify a rowdy rock n’ roll infused variant of the ever-improving retro-rock of the swedes.

Download: Drifting, Hour of the Wolf, Against the Rising Tide
For The Fans Of: Witchcraft, Dean Allen Foyd, Troubled Horse
Release date 03.04.2013
Transubstans Records

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