1968 might seem a strange choice of name for a band formed in the mid 00's but not so strange when you consider that 1968 are a band whose heavy and hard sonic attack owes a huge debt to what many consider the golden age of rock music and that it was in the year 1968 and onwards that things started to progress towards the heavier sounds we still listen to today. James Coppack (vocals); Sam Orr (guitar); Bear (bass) and Dan Amati (drums), the guys who make up 1968, do not attempt to hide their worship of all things hard and classic in fact they openly revel in the retro aspects of their sound and that love of rock, in all its various guises, is something celebrated not only on new album "Salvation If You Need" (vinyl released through Non Profit Records) but right through the bands back catalogue.
As if to push their point 1968 open "Salvation If You Need" with "Rail Road Boogie" a song that blatantly uses every 70's cliché in the book, its funky percussive intro accompanied by a chunky staccato chord progression, will remind older readers of Isaac Hayes "Theme From Shaft" while the songs main body is like a game of spot the influence, we at Desert Psychlist found a little Mountain style riffing going on as well as a some Montrose-like hard rock swagger nestling in the mix but we are sure others will have their own opinions. Next track "Trail of Dogs" finds 1968 mixing up their classic/hard rock with a some alt-rock dynamics, James Coppack's double tracked vocals on the songs verses reminding this writer of the multi harmonies of 90's British alternative bluesers Gomez in places. "Black Wing" has one of those grooves that compels head nodding and satisfied smiling and boasts a blistering lead brake courtesy of Sam Orr while "Here It Lies" is the perfect showcase for the percussive skills of Amati and the growling bass work of the appropriately named Bear as well as highlighting what an incredibly adapt vocalist the band have in Coppack, his smoky rasp a revelation throughout. We at Desert Psychlist are huge Budgie fans so we were looking forward to hearing how 1968's cover of the bands song "Guts" would stand up to muster, to say they nailed it would be an understatement. "Expressway" follows and starts with a solo bass motif then ends in screaming feedback and in-between rocks like a motherfucker while "Eastern Wind" will just blow you away. "Small Victories" is one of those songs that back in the day you would know to expect on any rock album of note, a slow growing ballad/torch song that gradually builds in momentum until finally bowing out on a wave of soaring guitar. "Rise of the Night Hornets" is a schizophrenic blend of alt-rock, stoner rock and Stone Roses type indie rock that maybe a little to clever for its own good, its probably our least favourite track on what is a very good album but its hard to explain why so we won't try. "God Bless" brings things to a close and is the perfect vehicle for Sam Orr to demonstrate his prowess on six strings, his bluesy lead breaks, screeching over and around Coppack's surprisingly laid back vocal, are the perfect example of why "feel" will always win out over mindless shredding.
If you are already a fan of 1968 you won't need us to tell you why you should be spending your hard earned cash on "Salvation If You Need" but if you are new to these guys then you are in for a rare treat, 1968 was a great time for rock music and 1968 prove it still is!
Check 'em out ....
© 2021 Frazer Jones