Nearly 40 years since the end of the 1970s and a miraculous resurrection is occurring. In quite the same manner as the ghoulish beings in Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” (which is nearly 35 years of age – anyone feeling old yet?), the rock groove and power vocals of the ’70s are bursting out from within the sunshine-deprived depths of the earth, dusting themselves off and getting down to it once more. Inglorious, Heaven & Earth, Dirty Thrills – all apples of 2017’s eye, all inhabiting ghosts of ’70s music culture gone by. Following this trend, on 24th November, we welcome self-titled debut LP efforts from Samarkind, an album that inspires agitated finger-pointing-at-speakers with cries of “Who does that remind me of?!” (To save you some time, it reminds you of Whitesnake, Blackfoot, AC/DC, The Sweet…)
Samarkind opens with the formidable “Black Rain”. Starting with a crescendoing murmur of war drums and battle-ready chants, “Black Rain” sets an ominous mist before releasing the lonely cry of a Micky Moody-style riff. Just when the scene seems to be set, the clatter of The Sweet’s “Ballroom Blitz” percussion bursts through in conjunction with hillbilly hoedown gee-tar. Thus begins the twisting and turning of an album from a band who stay true to their hard rock roots but aren’t afraid to adorn their songs with the twinkling of unexpected musical knickknacks. From the injected shimmer of solitary realism reminiscent of The Who’s Quadrophenia in “Good Man Call” to the samba rhythm of “Touch Stone Man”, Samarkind aim to keep musical habituation to an all-time low.
Planet Rock- and Classic Rock Magazine-approved “Sun Stroke Heart” strikes with the sister riff to Led Zeppelin’s “Immigrant Song”, while “Blue Mountain” excites with the playfulness of AC/DC sleaze. “Fire and Blood” ignite the sort of gust that only a flex of Zeus’ bicep could produce, with a choral burst that blows one away in the same way Marty McFly rockets himself backwards following a mishap with an amp in Back To The Future. Common to all of these tracks is the rumble created by drummer Marius Appelgryn, a thunder that establishes itself as the staunch back-bone to the elastic groove of Samarkind.
At 32 minutes short, Samarkind seems to unearth only a fraction of what Samarkind have up their sleeves. Rather like an onion performing a very slow striptease, bets are on that it will be a while before Samarkind are left without any layers to delve deeper into. In the meantime, we’re left with a tasty titbit of ’70s resurrection to keep hunger pangs at bay.