- Beige vinyl
- Sail Away
- Ancient Goddess
Release Date: May 12, 2017
Label: Heavy Psych Sounds Records
More than most records, let alone most debuts, Cachemira‘s first offering, Jungla, gives the front-to-back impression of a live set. With “Ouverture” — French for “opening” — the Barcelona three-piece gradually bring the Heavy Psych Sounds release to life over the course of its first four minutes, and from there, it’s all about the naturalist chemistry that emerges as one song feeds into the next over the course of four pieces on two vinyl sides. When taken together, those two sides, “Ouverture” included, comprise a tight 30-minute set that showcases the band’s personality in what is apparently their formative stage. That is, while Cachemira may not sound like it as they round the hairpin turns of eight-minute tracklist centerpiece and side A closer “Goddess,” which follows “Sail Away” after “Ouverture,” they’re are a pretty new group.
The lineup has some measure of pedigree, as guitarist/vocalist Gaston Lainé has played in Brain Pyramid, bassist Pol Ventura in 1886 and drummer Alejandro Carmona in Prisma Circus, but Jungla is their debut outing together following a recorded early version of the album’s instrumental title-track and a posted leak of “Goddess,” which when taken together here comprise the whole of side B. I suppose one could call it boogie rock with all the scorching guitar-led shuffle in “Goddess” or “Jungla” itself, but the classic-rocking sensibility Cachemira elicit owes more to the likes of Radio Moscow than to Graveyard, and among the most appealing aspects of Jungla is its unpretentious, organic vibe.
Most especially for the heavy rock converted, it’s an easy listen that asks little of its audience other than they tag along for a slew of guitar solos and jam-based songcraft. Anyone who’s heard Prisma Circus can tell you Carmona is a monster shuffle-drummer, and he showcases some of that here, finding complement in the warm low tone of Ventura‘s bass as the band works in classic power trio construction — Carmonaand Ventura the powerhouse rhythms section to Lainé‘s frontman presence. As recorded by Lainé‘s Brain Pyramid bandmate, Baptiste Gautier-Lorenzo, the spirit in “Ouverture” is immediately warm with a subtle underscoring of organ for the sweet guitar tone, and as they build toward “Sail Away,” transitioning via that same organ line, the groove that takes hold remains informed by the relatively patient start they give the album.
In terms of the basic elements at play, Jungla works in familiar terrain — guitar, bass, drums, vocals, some flourish of keys — but it’s really about what these players bring to it and how well they work together that lets Jungla impress in the way it does. The band has said outright that this is the product of their beginnings, some of their earliest work from about a year ago, and that may well be the case, but that also shows clearly that what they have most going for them at this point is the fluidity of the instrumental conversation between Lainé, Carmonaand Ventura, as the smoothness of their delivery throughout becomes enough to even out the purposeful choppiness and bounce of their writing style such that even the more raucous back half of “Goddess” — drum solo and all — holds firm to its overarching languid mood. Even when they’re in a rush, they don’t sound like they’re in any rush whatsoever.
That’s not to say they don’t build some significant momentum throughout Jungla, because they most certainly do. Even as “Goddess” breaks before the side flip brings on the closing duo of “Jungla” and “Overpopulation,” the sense of motion to the songs is clear, and whether they’re running in circles as “Jungla” builds to a head in its second half, underscored by persistent, insistent crash from Carmona on drums and a steady throb from Ventura on bass, almost jazzy by the finish after a wah-soaked, forward-driven start, or squealing through the starts and stops and winding progression of the finale, that motion is as varied and multidirectional as it ultimately is maintained. If Jungla is to represent Cachemira‘s beginnings, then their beginnings find them not at all afraid of flying off the handle as they twist around complex rhythm structures, and proven that they’re right not to be.
Whether it’s from their collective experience in other outfits or just happenstance that they work so well together — or, I suppose, some combination of the two — the basic fact of the matter is Cachemira‘s debut offers explosive moments amid a liquid, welcoming, almost understated presentation for what they’re actually doing, and in addition to its own accomplishments, it sets them up to move forward and develop along the course they’re setting here. Primarily, though, it speaks to what would seem to be their force as a stage act, and though it’s a short set, there’s no question they leave their audience wanting more. One suspects it won’t be all that long until we get it, but until then, Jungla‘s balance between the head-spinning and the molten makes their first album a significant preach well worth engaging. It would be a hell of a live show.
- The Obelisk