Music

Volcano Emits Acid-washed Afrobeat on "The Island" (premiere)

Photo courtesy of Tee Pee Records

Volcano spins tales to the sounds of acid-washed Afrobeat on new track "The Island".

As San Diego group Volcano's upcoming record The Island unfolds, it tells a tale, one of chaotic wilderness, of man versus nature, of a fictional uncharted island hiding a host of secrets. The story is an intriguing one - and so is the music of its title track, acid-drenched, Afrobeat-inspired, and oozing with energy.

"'The Island' was the tune that helped us realize the overall tone of the record," says guitarist Zach Oakley, who describes lead vocalist and keyboardist Gabe Messer's initial vision for the album's concept as made up of "heat-of-the-moment, semi-complete short stories about the island and its native people's struggles against gods, invaders, and nature's unruly and dark governing forces… each tune its own self-contained chapter."

With "The Island", the group introduces an unsuspecting crew of sailors who run across the titular landmass, little knowing what dangers they face. The threat, though, is clear to Volcano's listeners, spelled out in the form of intense rhythms from percussionists Matt Oakley and Ake Arndt as bassist Billy Ellsworth throbs from beneath Zach Oakley's enticing guitar lines.

"Musically speaking," Oakley continues, "I think it's the best representation of our attempts to put storytelling in the forefront and use groove changes to complement the lyrical moods, and slowly-but-surely intensifying tempos to carry the tune's story arc through its climax."

Not only is a perfect example of combining narrative and musical form, but it represents one of the most important qualities a full band can have - especially one so heavily influenced by classic Afrobeat collectives. "The whole band plays unselfishly. Everyone is playing with the lyrics and the story perfectly in mind. No one is waiting to take the spotlight into an extended guitar or keyboard solo."

As perfectly in sync with each other as the members of Volcano are, they maintain a ferocious momentum, building a fantastic world on the backs of their stunning sounds. Or, as Oakley puts it: "It's a fun ride!"

The Island comes out on Tee Pee Records on 15 February. It is now available for pre-order.

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