08 October 2021 (released)
04 October 2021
Anyone familiar with Caravan’s history will recognize the names of Pye Hastings and Geoffrey Richardson as well as Jan Schelhaas who has been the keyboard player since the mid-seventies.
They are joined by Mark Walker on drums and Lee Pomeroy who guests on bass as well as Jimmy Hastings on flute.
Eschewing the modern way of recoding parts remotely and mixing them together, the band chose to get together to record this album and, to me, it definitely sounds as though there was an organic process to the recording, something I think is lacking in a lot of ‘Lockdown’ recordings. “Sitting round in a circle having eye to eye contact, a large sound room was required,” Pye Hastings explained. “I much prefer this method because you can bounce ideas off each other as they occur, and voice encouragement when the whole thing begins to click. And it is much more rewarding to be able to throw insults at each other in person rather than down a telephone line or via email. This is something we are all very experienced at, believe me!”
The album retains much of what Caravan are famous for – excellent musicianship, lyrics with a story (fictional or otherwise) and a very English charm and sense of whimsy.
Pye Hastings vocals have dropped an octave over the years but he is still a very fine vocalist and it is a pleasure to be listening to music that is not entirely guitar oriented – keyboards and viola are equally important to the band’s sound.
Lyrically, the album covers typical Caravan light-heartedness on numbers such as ‘Down To London’ and ‘If I Was To Fly’ but the songs also cover deeper aspects of modern times, touching on Covid-denial and the unfortunates who have been left behind by the lockdowns and restrictions of the last couple of years.
I approached the album with some trepidation, but it has quickly become one of my favourite recent releases.
Very much a real Caravan album and a cracker at that.