Ethereal trumpet licks and delicately balanced piano accompaniment is not typically associated with ska or New Age reggae – but then again, there’s nothing typical about Caravãna Sun.
Their unabashed, unorthodox approach to this genre may have seemingly gentrified ska in one fell swoop; exposing its accessibility to a modern Australian music crowd too often overwhelmed by EDM and contrived pop music. Though not alone in the post-punk resurgence of reggae/ska, having to battle the likes of Tash Sultana and Ocean Alley – Caravãna Sun prove with Guerilla Club that they can certainly bring some new funk to the scene.
The now well-toured troupe translates their mature stage presence into a masterfully composed ballad. While the genius is attributable to none other than the quartet, an honourable mention must be given to an unsuspecting studio dark horse – Eskimo Joe’s guitarist Joel Quartermain. Quartermain is a man who was wrangled into the fold for one reason – to push the band harder in the studio than they have ever before. Has it worked? Absolutely. Every track on Guerilla Club is as polished as the participation trophy on your mother’s mantle, but infinitely more impressive in every way. Surely even the most narcissistic critic would have trouble denigrating Caravãna’s newest addition to their now growing musical gamut.
Perhaps the most refreshing aspect of this newest work is the journey on which it takes an individual. Upon cursory listen common themes of love and heartbreak seem to be evident, yet delve deeper and the album’s true revelations come through – those that explore Indigenous mystique, Aboriginal connection to the land and a yearning for strengthened intercultural connections. In a time where our government approved the largest ever coal mine to be partially built on sacred lands, one couldn’t think of a more prescient album to aid in bridging our cultural divide.
Nonetheless, Luke Carra insists the album’s politics are meant to remain as subliminal as possible and that they serve as less of a statement and more as a reflection on the band’s time spent inland amongst Aboriginal communities. To pull favourites from the album wouldn’t be wise as it’s best listened to whole – yet, after more than a dozen plays through, I still can’t shake Eye Of The Storm, Open Up and The Tourist.
Caravãna Sun have showcased the best of their best on Guerilla Club – a deeply fun instrumental spectacle with strong lyrics to match. For anyone bored by their current music trends, giving Caravãna Sun a look-in maybe the best thing you do today. Thank me (them) later.
Caravãna Sun – Guerilla Club
Released: 2 September 2016, Independent