2020 will forever go down as the year psych-rock exploded more into the indie scene with a multitude of quality releases. Karkara is next up as the trio from Toulouse, France have launched their sophomore effort Nowhere Land. The band had the idea that their sound was that of a traveler on a journey which started on their 2019 debut, Crystal Gazer, and now continues into an even more mystical realm here. Call the trip what you want but what Karkara are excellent at is providing plenty of loud fuzzed guitars, thumping bass and a rapid drum delivery. All of this sets the landscape but then the group adds the space swirling noise of the didgeridoo (an Australian wind instrument) and synths to the mix, which then helps create a slightly middle eastern world pulse to the record.
Karakara has one main ingredient that can found in some other top notch groups like Osees, SLIFT and King Gizzard – which is intensity. All 7 songs on this record are played with an electric fever that keeps you on the edge of your seat. Interesting enough, the vocals are more buried in the mix so they act as an important pillar but not the foundation. I think when your songs average over 5 minutes long, it is all about the music and that is where Karkara nail it.
Monster waves of music swarm over you throughout this record especially on stand out songs like “Falling Gods” and “Setting Sun.” Each track has a controlled pace that can be both fast and more simmering but regardless you always know that Karkara are in control. The band is able to successfully utilize all the instruments in their arsenal and make them the star of the song. Guitar, drums, didgeridoo – check. It does not matter as the trio play off of each other around every tempo change making the experience of Nowhere Land immersible. I like that Karkara can transcend you to their world with ease as they never overpower you with one thunderous movement but as a whole can blow you away. One thing is for sure though with Karkara, if you are still just dipping your ear into psych rock, Nowhere Land is strong enough to convert you to an immediate fan!
Key Tracks: “Falling Gods” / “Setting Sun” / “Witch”
Artists With Similar Fire: Osees / King Gizzard / SLIFT
-Reviewed by Thomas Wilde