Founded 15 years ago, Icelandic trio the Vintage Caravan—percussionist Stefán Ari Stefánsson, lead vocalist/guitarist Óskar Logi Ágústsson, and bassist/backing vocalist Alexander Örn Númason—are among the best 1970s rock revivalists around. Indeed, their blend of heavy prog, blues rock, and psychedelic rock has always been immensely poised, invigorating, and authentic, channeling influences such as Deep Purple, Cream, Led Zeppelin, and Rush into a sufficiently idiosyncratic vibe. While all their past albums have been quite enjoyable, there’s little doubt that their upcoming fifth LP, Monuments (which releases tomorrow on Napalm Records), blows them all away.
Fortunately, you won’t have to wait until then to hear it, as the whole record is streaming below.
Monuments captivatingly expand upon the 2018’s Gateways with its sleek and multilayered excellence from start to finish. Of course, part of the reason for that is the return of producer Ian Davenport, as well as the artistic growth they received after performing a handful of major live gigs alongside many other great artists (namely, Opeth). According to the band, they created the collection over the course of 22 consecutive days at Hljóðriti Studios, completing it just as the pandemic was getting underway.
“We are proud to present to you our new album, Monuments. We went all out and ended up with something you could say is our most varied work, including some of our softest songs and some of our heaviest songs thus far. There’s something for everyone here! In terms of production and songwriting, we managed to strike a good balance between old-school and modern sensibilities, too.
“We allowed ourselves to explore new avenues in songwriting, so there are some heavy yet—dare we say—pop-oriented songs (“Can’t Get You Off My Mind” and “Whispers”) alongside a bit of prog-rock madness (“Crystallized” and “Forgotten”) and even some intimate slow burns (“This One’s for You” and “Clarity”).
“Something that ended up unintentionally shining through is that the material comes from an honest place both lyrically and musically. Probably the best thing we did creatively was to step out of our own way and let the songs be what they wanted to be. We hope you like it as much as we do!”
Undoubtedly, Monuments sets a new benchmark not just for the Vintage Caravan, but for the entirety of today’s retro rock movement.