REVIEW: EL CACO – 7 (2016)


Something borrowed, something new and it all makes something cool

It can’t be just MV that sits at gigs waiting for the moment between bands that always seems to happen. That moment when AC/DC are played. The thing is as much as you might love AC/DC (and we really do) you can tell one of their songs a mile off. Whether it’s Bon Scott era, or the post 1980 stuff, it sounds like Acca Dacca.

That’s all well and good, but you do have to love bands that don’t have quite that attention span. Bands that are brimful of ideas and thing the best thing to do is get them all down as quick as possible. It’s appropriate then that El Caco is Spanish for thief, because on this eight tracker this Norwegian trio gleefully take whatever they want from rock history and aren’t going to give it back any time soon.

On their Wiki page it describes El Caco as a “stoner band from Lillestrom” and whilst their elements of that to their sound – and when MV last saw them it was as support for Red Fang – you can essentially forget that description, because there’s way more than that going on here.

For example, the opener “Curious Single” might begin like Queens Of The Stone Age (and posses a very neat line in Cowbell) but there’s a kind of The Bronx-like aggression here too, and “Sickness” is the same kind of angular discordance that Therapy? make their stock in trade.

And so it goes. “Ambivalent” is built around a pulsing baseline and a chugging riff, while “Reach Out” starts off like it’s going to be a conventional hard rocker, then becomes extremely dark indeed, the heaviest thing here by a distance, it even has a go at growling vocals, as if to say “we’ll have a crack at this as it’s something we’ve not explored yet.”

Oddly, the best song on “7” is perhaps its simplest. “The Silver Light” is all catchy harmonies, sleazy rock n roll and Thin Lizzy posturing, while “In Limbo” the, slowest, most deliberate track on offer runs is close – and is one of a number on the album that sucker you into thinking are epic by packing so much in, when in fact nothing here is longer than four and a half minutes.

There’s time for a instrumental, the band’s first, but it seems natural on this record where new things are being tried and “In Space All Huge Beasts Just Seem Tiny” is something similar to the recent work of label mates Steak Number Eight, while the closing cut “Those Possessed” is also it’s most doomy.

Many bands mess with the formula. What El Caco have done on “7”, (their seventh record, do you see what they do there?) is take the disparate strands of what they do and still keep them as a cohesive whole. This is very much a body of work and it’s very much mission accomplished.

Rating 8/10

“7” is released through Indie Recordings on 15th January 

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