When you think about rock or the blues you’d think about your parents or something an older generation would listen to, but it seems as if the Icelandic indie group Kaleo wants the younger crowd to listen to their music. In the terms of the blues or even indie rock it’s rather hard to get a listener base because the crowd that they’re catering is to around my age and we don’t or can’t relate because most of us would associate blues to our parents or our grandparents. With that being said, Kaleos debut, “A/B” manages to modernize an already classic genre but still stays true keeping what it’s known for being and this is being simple.
During my first listen of the starting track “No Good” I noticed it’s like a punch in face, in the way they start off, it just throws you in the mix with no apologizes. Lead vocalist and guitarist JJ Julius Son (Jökull Júlíusson) belts his voice that is identical to a lot of masters in blues like BB Mac but his vocals aren’t the only high light of the track both Son and lead guitarist and vocalist Rubin Pollock both show off their talent by throwing riffs back at each other. The whole song carries you throughout; the beat got me tapping my feet without me noticing it, it’s just good way to start off a record. The second song, “Way Down We Go” is another song that shows them playing the blues, the slow and smooth feel again has a beat to it unlike any other and it shows that they know what they’re doing. “Glass House” again picks up speed and is just so catchy, the song as a whole sounds like band is having fun playing which makes it more enjoyable and this the fourth track and the record hasn’t slowed down yet, the song is filled in with rolls done by the ever talented drummer Davíð Antonsson and when you blend that with their guitar work you have an extremely well done product. This is a rare type record where each song is so good; to leave just one out wouldn’t be fair for the band so the whole record is well done, but all these songs I’m writing about are the key ones, the ones that portray the band in a better light . A song that is different from the rest bust still manages to keep the theme going is “All The Pretty Girls” is a 180 because each song before it has catchy rhythm, but this one has more folk style to it the acoustic tone along with Son very calm chorus would make you fall in love with his songs and voice.
The closer “I Can’t Go On Without You” is perfectly placed its more of their indie side shining and that’s what interesting about Kaleo is that each song is styled differently, the album opens up more of rock sound then goes back and forth between folk and the blues and then falls back onto the indie influence. They do all these transitions effortlessly and it pays off for them in the end. As far as debut album goes this is a strong one, in fact I believe that once this drops, it’ll come to a huge surprise by people who don’t even like the blues or folk music, because they do a really good job making it sound like it’s for today’s generation.
Written: Raza Malik