The Vintage Caravan – Gateways (Nuclear Blast)

Monday, 27th August 2018
Rating: 8/10

Here’s the best workaround for an Icelandic band: Don’t sound Icelandic. As Icelanders Kontinuum told us, being associated with their home country has almost become a burden, now superseding whatever sonic elements that have gotten these bands to this spot originally. Such is the scenario for anyone hailing from an exotic place with an exotic sound. The Vintage Caravan, on the other hand, is undisputedly of the classic rock but not-Icelandic-sounding mind, parlaying the power-trio concept into bang-able, head-bobbing, somewhat climatic, even, songs. While their 2015 sophomore Arrival made a dent, Gateways should be a retro rock career launcher.

Any sort of freshness associated with the come-around-again classic rock sound has long been gone, leaving The Vintage Caravan to resort to old-fashioned riffery and songwriting, of which clicks immediately on powerful FM radio opener “Set Your Sights.” The band digs further into its box of Blue Oyster Cult and Cream on “The Way,” a cut highlighted by Óskar Logi’s swaying main guitar riff. Logi, who also serves as the primary vocalist here, doles out some heavy-handed, but controlled vocal plumes, whether on “The Way” or “On the Run,” a certifiably homespun wanderer of organic, melodic rock of the singer-songwriter variety.

The nexus between street jammers and reflective, mellow cuts is how The Vintage Caravan ultimately gets on here, sweeping the room of lesser bands on “All This Time” or bringing it all home on psychedelic closer “Tune Out.” And while the retro rock train has long left the station, Gateways shows that The Vintage Caravan is worth circling back to for another go-round in a land where the dial has stopped on 1977.

The Vintage Caravan on Facebook