The Caravan rolls into Oxford this week to kick off a night of heaviness at the Wheatsheaf, supporting Undersmile and Beehoover, so it’s about time we snuck in a warm up for the Oxfordshire three-piece. Time to get on the Road … to Kurti.
And where does it lead?
To a four track, 30-minute nugget of doom-ish riffs and space trippin’ expansions, that’s where. I’ve been listening to this 2012 release loads since seeing them support Naam last year and at first, I thought the dooooomy-ness held sway. Sticky blackened riffs on Mr Bendyman and Your God is Dead are airless and sunshine free … Wino comes to mind (sort of), as does the cold-air essence of 80s Celtic Frost (sort of).
Oh, and so do four geezers (sorry Geezer) from the black country who unwittingly spawned this whole thing anyway. You know how Masters of Reality was the first Sabbath record to sound consistently just too slow, like your turntable was spinning a couple of revs under the magic 33? That’s where Road to Kurti’s riffs are pitched: leaden enough to lurch with a wee bit of drag, no doubt intoxicated by Into the Void’s daddy-of-them-all stoner spirit.
But what really elevates this EP is the stuff that isn’t riff-based. The stuff that breaks down and stretches out. Anyone who’s a sucker for those spacious head-nodding jams that cast off their earth shackles and make for some higher orbit – the cosmic side of Kyuss, Dead Meadow, Monster Magnet and the like – will find pure drifting satisfaction here.
Check the thick warm bass way up front in the mix on opener Drug Queen, then spend the next half hour wallowing in ego-less guitar (from the magnificently named John Slaymaker), dirgey riffs and some mightily hyperactive drum action which, after repeat plays, grabs your ears to the point that you’ll soon start having your favourite FILLS, never mind riffs (hello Mr Bendyman). And you don’t normally say that about drummers in so-called doom bands, which just shows how much more is going on here.
So then: Caravan of Whores. You wouldn’t name a taxi company after them, but as far as the psyche/prog end of doom or the dark side of the desert goes, they’re a name to call on. They deliver. Looking forward to the next batch of tunes, fellas.