If you buy one album out this week, make it...
Graveyard - Innocence & Decadence
Of all the retro rock revivalists of the last few years (typically in thrall of early Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin, among others) Graveyard are somewhat Godfather-esque figures. Before the likes of Blues Pills unleashed their party-like-it’s-1969 riches, these gentlemen of Gothenburg were reigniting the embers of yore – reminding us that we still want fresh reminders of psychedelia, Sabbath and the 60s-70s on a regular basis.
Innocence & Decadence *builds on this inviting reputation, with bigger chops and colours that affirm them as key purveyors of nostalgic classic rock. Freeing, liberated jabs of the Stones work into *Never Theirs To Sell, with vocalist Joakim acquiring a bit of Robert Plant mania on higher notes. Coatings of psych-doom sultrify the percussive likes of The Apple And The Tree, and cool dashes of Hendrix-y rhythm filter across the record. Really, the apparent influences here read like a who’s-who of classic rock legends.
So far so familiar. Yet the whole thing is imbued with the kind of va-va-voom that stops it getting* too* comfy (e.g. the pacey, increasingly tripped-out likes of From A Hole In The Wall). Because when it’s done well, retro rock really doesn’t have to be corny – more like an old church that’s been thoughtfully restored, with architectural newness in the right places.
And it’s not as if there isn’t variation either; it's a veritable feast of rock history. Some tracks demand incense and squashy beanbags, while others call for stiff drinks and sweaty basement clubs. Far Too Close is all doom-fuzzed blues, Can’t Walk Out *has an almost grungy energy to it, and *Too Much Is Not Enough is an actual full-blown soul ballad – super sugar n’ schmaltz.
And then suddenly we’re at tender, soulful closer Stay For A Song – frenetic drums stripped away, in place of a lovelorn tune which dissolves into a low, ambient finish. An interesting, surprising end to a record that’s rather more sharp-eyed than you may think.