1968 are a new four-piece hailing from Cheshire, releasing this self-titled EP in January 2016. Having checked the bands biog I was surprised to find that their name is not in tribute to the year of my conception, but instead a celebration to what they consider the finest year for rock
music. Naturally we all love our classic rock, but it’s a bit dispiriting to find musicians who were not even born then harking back quite so much to the past. I’m by no means demanding that every new band sound like Enter Shikari Vs Baby Metal, but as this is my first review of music released in 2016 it doesn’t sit well with me.
The bands sound mixes crunchy, mid-paced riffs and sinuous, melodic guitar lines, restless percussion and leather lunged he-man vocals – The Spiritual Beggars would be a good comparison; Led Zep and Deep Purple influences dusted down and scuffed up, with a garage rock attack on ‘HMS Conan’. All three songs begin with a great deal of bluster, making all the right, if expected, moves, but it’s really only the aforementioned ‘HMS Conan’ that significantly plays with pacing or style to remain consistently interesting beyond the early posturing. Having said that ‘Marauder’ does close well, with a bass-lead instrumental coda – atmospheric, howling guitar soloing over the top hinting at everything from Hendrix to Jane’s Addiction via shoe gaze.
However it is ‘HMS Conan’ which shows most promise; It moves from urgent, to bluesy slink, with vocalist Jimi Ray getting to display a more soulful edge as the song moves into Danzig-esque metallic blues (not dissimilar in sound to King Giant‘s excellent ”Black Ocean Waves” album from this year). At nearly nine minutes long it’s clearly the centrepiece, and whilst not quite the epic the running time would suggest it is the bands finest moment here and at least hints at an ambition and talent that may mean 1968‘s time will come… again.