Prepare for a good taste of the open wilderness with Joal Kamps’ second album Heads Is East, Tails Is West, which contains 12 songs rich with stories of life and love and the freedom of the great terrain.
“Heads Or Tails” is kind of the prototypical pop rock song with some country blues mixed in. What sticks out most is the energy of this song; it serves as a wakeup call and opens the album on a steady foot. I noticed that the guitars in some of the songs had a very sweet twang; each song sounded different but there was a distinctly delicate touch in each. Two shining examples of this are “Time Stand Still” and “From The Start.”
“Be Gentle” is laden with emotion, calling on the piano, violin and a faint twinkle to set the tone of a rather sad story of lovers with two separate paths in life. The power really kicks into the vocals here, making it a very heartfelt song that I really identified with.
The album gets a funky twist with “Ocean,” with some blues rock tones overlaid with 80’s pop vocals. Given my own personal tastes I liked this song a lot, particularly with the electronic guitar screaming in the background – I like the darker sides of music that’s otherwise very upbeat and happy, and this is a great example of why I like it so much. “Thief” has a different motif but also shows some of the deeper dark side, and I love the almost Latin influence that shows in the song.
The beautiful interlude “Winter 1906-07” was…beautiful, for lack of better words. It led into “Accept Me,” an equally beautiful song that ends the album on a thoroughly majestic note – and I can’t stress that enough, the last two or so minutes of that song are just wonderful.
While I don’t feel like this is a made-for-radio album, I do think it’s accessible enough to appear on radio stations all around, particularly due to the classic elements. It put me in an exploring mood, and made me want to go out camping and get closer to the sweet offerings of nature, because that’s what this sounds like: sweet as honey, bright as the sun, and calm as a summer breeze. Definitely give this a listen and enjoy the groove.
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