Ayrshire band The Kalahari Hijack‘s second full length album mixes up their sound ever so slightly, dancing between hard rock and sorrowful pop. In the end, it delivers some catchy tunes but doesn’t exactly succeed in standing out.
The heavier tracks sound the most natural. The band themselves describe songs like Stagnant (Up in Smoke) as “hard rock” but, truth be told, by today’s rock music standards, it’s about as hard as porridge. That’s not to say it fails. It’s just evident that the band’s concept of rock is more of a classic kind. Guitar solos have an Oasis-esque twang to them and rhythmic sections are filled to the brim with power chords. Of the “harder” tracks, Under the Sun and My Horse Was So High are standouts. They feel the most modern, with Under the Sun being particularly catchy.
Certain tunes really are reminiscent of Britpop. If you were told the album was released between ’96 and ’05 you probably wouldn’t be surprised. Again, this isn’t necessarily a negative. For what they are presumably aiming at, the band are successful. At times the use of effects modernises the sound, even if distortion and echo aren’t exactly revolutionary.
The issue is that the heavier tracks sound natural to the band, whereas these songs sound like an uninspired mix between Oasis and John Lennon. That said, Dead End Boy is one of the album’s best. The electric drums give the track something to distinguish the band from their contemporaries and the transition during the song shows there’s more to them than heavy rock and sad songs.
Frontman Stuart McGregor’s Lennonesque vocals are fantastic and are possibly the album’s best feature. He demonstrates a good range throughout, but more importantly his fun shines through for listeners.
The Kalahari Hijack don’t present many new ideas but they can entertain those with a soft spot for catchy, classic rock.