Man I wish I would come across more albums these days that sound as potent and vibrant as Against The Rising Tide, the second album from Swedish retro rockers The Crystal Caravan. In existence since roughly 2002 this seven member outfit from Umea Sweden has been slowly perfecting their unique brand of 60's and 70's influenced rock.
Seeking to capture the spontaneous, sweaty, up close and intimate vibe of their live show the band retreated to a remote church in Sweden for a couple of weeks, and the result is an eight song album that delivers heaping amounts of blazing intensity and a remarkable sense of urgency, all in just a shade under forty minutes.
Comprised of vocalist Niklas "RG" Gustafsson, guitarists Björn Lohmander and Stefan Bränberg, organist Jonas Lindsköld, along with the rhythm section of bassist Pierre Svensson and percussionists Christopher Olsson and Annika Bränberg, the band takes no prisoners as Against The Rising Tide storms out of the gate with plenty of piss and vinegar. As the opening riffs explode forth from the barnburner "We'll Always Lose" the band doesn't let up until the searing final notes of the epic closing number "Wrecking Ball" slowly fade out. Both Lohmander and Bränberg dominate here as they fire off an impressive amount of amped up, lightning fast, psychedelic sounding blues licks and solos on "Love And Direction", "I'm A Stone", "Focus" and "Blue Blues", while Gustafsson sings the hell out of every one of these songs as if each performance is his last. The listener can expect to be pretty well spent by the time the band reaches deep down and offers up the bluesy eight minute "Wrecking Ball" to close things out. The song starts out as a ballad thanks in large part to Lindsköld's atmospheric keyboard playing, which further heightens the inherent dreamlike qualities of this composition. The intensity gradually begins to build as the tempos increase, before the track suddenly kicks into overdrive and climaxes in an all out, super charged flurry of guitar pyrotechnics. I can't think of a better way to bring the curtain down on this 70's inspired sounding masterpiece.
Fans of the warm, rich, analog sounds of classic rock bands from a bygone era are going to love what The Crystal Caravan brings to the table on Against The Rising Tide. This might only be their second album but believe me, after giving this one a few spins you should be thoroughly convinced that the members of The Crystal Caravan sound nothing less than seasoned veterans.
1) We'll Always Lose
2) Love And Direction
3) Apple Hotel
4) I'm A Stone
6) Blue Blues
7) Take What's Yours
8) Wrecking Ball