When you hear the word vortex you think of a whirlwind, getting caught up in the moment. Losing control. Finding yourself with your head spinning trying to get a grip on what just happened.
As a member of French label Howlin Banana Records‘ roster for the best part of five years, Kaviar Special has accrued a reputation as heavyweights within the European psych and garage rock scene, touring the continent countless times, with the release of Vortex seeing the band bang out three albums in four years. Vortex sees the band widen their sound, taking elements from the spheres of pop, garage and heavy psych, to produce a more mature, well-rounded release.
From the outset, Kaviar Special kick things off with energetic opening track Run Away which provides a juxtaposition of a wickedly pedal effected, synth-like, driving riff clashing with clean electric tones that showcases the backbone of tones that will be explored throughout Vortex. Atmospheric tracks How Come and Roadhouse, aren’t your average atmospheric psychedelia, incorporating acid-drenched riffs and pounding drums typically associated with doom.
Bursting at the Seams and Bedroom are exactly what you’d expect from Kaviar Special, neo-psychedelic garage rock at its fuzziest. Things take a sinister turn when highlight Dead End’s boxy introduction begins, taking over a minute to reach cruising speed the track is as dark as the name suggests, the bottom end dominates, almost suffocating the gentle vocal in places. Back to School gives off a country vibe you’d generally associate with Black Lips but isn’t out of place necessarily.
The Draugr comes out all guns blazing, breathing fire and takes no prisoners, a monster of a track that you won’t be able to stop coming back to. Title-track Vortex and Busted are probably the crudest tracks on the album signalling the beginning of the end of the album, with closing track Scattered All Around finding a middle ground between the atmosphere found on How Come and the power of The Draugr.
Production wise, Vortex is Kaviar Special‘s most polished record to date, the vocals sit front and centre, while the instrumentation is layered to perfection. For those well versed in garage rock Vortex is a necessity, for those looking for a place to dive into the heavier side of psychedelic rock Vortex will have your ears succumbing to wave upon distorted wave of reverb and fuzz.