distortedsoundmag.com Review The Island

 By Josie Faulkner    February 15, 2019  


You’ll be hard pressed to find out much about VOLCANO on the internet. Type in their band name, followed by a few keywords and you’ll be flooded with pictures of exploding mountains or adverts promoting the perfect get-away for two in Hawaii. In fact, they barely seem to exist with exception of two songs floating around online. A deeper dive into the pages of Google and it would seem there is reason why. 

Born from the underground psychedelic scene in San Diego, all five of VOLCANO’s members came together from other bands – JOY, HARSH TOKE and LOOM – to form a supergroup of sorts; their first song 10,000 Screaming Souls spreading like wildfire through word of mouth, which explains why they’ve erupted seemingly from out of nowhere. A resplendent blend of psychedelic-rock and Afro-beat rhythms, within just a few months VOLCANO landed a spot at last years Roadburn Festival, blowing away everyone present at their packed out slot in a riotous affair. Fast forward a few months, and the band are on the cusp of releasing their debut album The Island: a short foray into the realms of stoner-rock, comprised of only six tracks, that will have you shaking with glee from it’s opening bars.


Leading the charge with Naked Prey, drummer Matt Oakley and percussionist Ake Arndt‘s feisty polyrhythmic playing immediately sets the pace for the record. Fervently VOLCANO use their collective instruments (synths and organs et al) to showcase their penchant for weaving a tale rather than relying on vocals. Fluidly working their way through an atmosphere that feels like flaming hot lava, they lean on luscious swathes of twanging guitars; which at times threaten to explode in a rush of heaviness but instead simmers along with melodious intent. 

A ’70s inspired groove rears its head in Skewered; grounded by the funk of Billy Ellsworth‘s bass while Oakley’s sustained rhythms offer a ceaseless pounding that is inescapably dance-able. VOLCANO manage to echo the funk and prog masters of the past without ever really setting a foot into the realms of nostalgia. On No Devil Know Demon the influences of JAMES BROWN and THE FUNKEES are prevalent, while the hedonistic romp of Eruption draws in the dynamism of their Kraut rock influences — forging a path for something that feels unique yet ultimately familiar. 

The sparse addition of vocals, predominantly found in the choruses, offer the listener something to latch onto in the never-ending sea of psychedelia. So much so that the whole record feels like VOLCANO have invited us all to join them in a long jamming session, plucked straight from an old school hippie party sheathed in a stoner haze. And it’s glorious. With enough riffing to tip you over the edge one moment before luring you back into their realm, VOLCANO have something here that will guarantee to be stuck in your head for days, whether you like it or not. Cleverly articulated through their vast knowledge of their craft, The Island is a fantastic introduction to the San Diego supergroup, and leaves plenty of unexplored territory for album number two. 

Rating: 8/10

Original post is here:  https://distortedsoundmag.com/album-review-the-island-volcano/


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