From the very first chorus of ‘Starry Eagle Eye’ Stockholm, Sweden based rock band Svartanatt are clear as day with their intentions as “Children of the Revival” aiming for 60’s rock purity with the seemingly unavoidable somber Swedish feeling. Like Gypsyhawk, and Dead Lord after them, Svartanatt employ a heavy dose of Thin Lizzy style guitar work yet manage their own remarkably effortless sound. Their style show some versatility as the album veers between the catchy rock of The Hellacopters ‘High Visibility’, Horisont‘s ‘About Time’ and more obvious retro inspiration on ‘Starry Eagle Eye’. Though their LP looks like biker-friendly late 60’s rock at first glance, their music seems to be making moves towards early 70’s rawk songwriting beyond their first album.
Everything they’d done on their self-titled debut in 2016 is well improved upon on ‘Starry Eagle Eye’. The ballads are bigger, the guitar solos are smoother, and the production is no longer fuzzed over. The increased presence of the organist adds a lot of character to the tracks, even if it is mixed a bit quiet, and helps otherwise standard tracks like “Hit Him Down” stand out quite a bit. I’d almost wished they’d go full Roky Erikson circa 1980 and break out the keyboards more. In fact when I go back and dig through my favorite 60’s and 70’s rock records I find this far less ambitious than groups like UFO, Winterhawk or Budgie as they opt for something more Steppenwolf or Blue Cheer-ish. No fault for going a bit softer and ‘normal’ but I lost some interest after I’d jumped between this and a few classics.
The best songs on ‘Starry Eagle Eye’ kicked up both Thin Lizzy and ‘Book of Taliesyn’ era Deep Purple with the best example being “The Lonesome Ranger” and “Wrong Side of Town” following close behind. This sort of reference, be it solely my own reaction, is what interested me most when listening to Svartanatt. I think that is the true value of retro-revivalist music, finding something that inspires both nostalgia and breathes some amount of new life into the sound. I don’t want to suggest they are generic or overly imitative, they certainly aren’t. The band have clearly worked hard on these songs and, despite my dislike of balladry, held my attention across several spins on their 40 minute rock record. What stuck with me the most was the guitar tone and organ work, both of which they fully nailed as they captured that throwback sound well.
|Released||March 2, 2018|
|Listen on The Sign Records’ Bandcamp!||Follow Svartanatt on Facebook|
Flyin’ high. 3.0/5.0
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