Saturday, July 22, 2017



Kazyak find themselves in a natural setting before and after some experience there, on Happy Camping. This can all be found in the unfolding press about it, but the album contains six good songs that hit right on the money with a great combo, or not at all if you don’t welcome genre combos of this extreme. Fortunately, they have what sounds like a winning formula anyway. Maybe it’s just that new to me, and could be an illusion to other critics, but that’s the risk we all take with or without bias. Meshing Americana with other flavors doesn’t break any rules here. In-fact it could be part of a ground-swell. If tracks like “Sundial” and “Basin” don’t get through on their own efforts then it’s too bad, because they’re two of the best on offer. Just as opening with the likes of “Sacred Cow” proves to slam dunk. Easily contending for the-best they can muster, this embodies what the core ideas on this album are trying to get across. It is awesome when it boils down to it, but unfortunately not everything on Happy Camping is this epic. The tracks all check out from good to better, but the reality is some go the distance others can’t reach. I’ll explain where the light and shade meet with heavy and otherwise fluffy but good clichés.

The heavy prevails on the first half of the album, but the lighter half which is less exciting still takes you through a smooth exit in the process of can’t be described without mentioning the sub-genre factors about it. “Sundial” itself proves that too. And “Basin” should get some rundown for what it brings to the table on both levels. It almost makes it hard to ride on the subject in the first place. But none of it is done without excellence, that’s for sure. There is no knocking what might come out of the woodwork for all we know. All we do know is that we have-to listen then see, in that order not the other way around.

“When I Lived In Carolina” is where a different animal comes out and the country in Kazyak really plays the most important part. But don’t just think country, think folk too, for a definitive Americana song between the two. They get downright spooky in this track that could so easily be heard on both TV and radio in regions calling for it. They succeed at that all over the album, but I hear out the best on this one. It plays out like a dream that struggles between the present and the past, with a brooding approach as it keeps you interested all the way. This is definitely-one-of the “epic” variety. But what follows isn’t as smooth of sailing, as it goes.

One of the shorter travelling tracks on the other hand to be fair, is “Darker” which flirts with more pain than pleasure. But to also be fair, they do flirt even more with it on “Sundial” but it works a lot better if you compare them. Both are still somehow good, but if there is anything weak to single out, this is the place I’d start. It’s about looking on the brighter side, but not without getting into the where, the how and especially the why. So the struggle on Happy Camping is real, and they get a chance to crack a go at explaining it on the final track. The best thing of all is they succeed at it in the end, but not without challenges.

Todd Bauer

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