Kazyak’s sound evokes a type of Experimental Americana. The album Happy Camping is dubbed as the band’s ‘country record’, using simple guitar/bass/drums orchestration to imitate Gillian Welch and David Rawlings’ ‘slow heartbeat’ approach to feel. The lineup is Peter Freyon nylon/acoustic/electric guitars, long-time friend and bassist LanaBolin, and drummer/engineer Brett Bullion – who together display a
tightness that entwine hooks, lines, and visceral textures. The livelineup of the band adds Andy Wolfe (guitars), Pat Hayes (synth) andNick Grewe (drums and electronics).The first impression I get from Kazyak is that they’re a sublime, laid back sort of band on this album, which plays more like an EP (to immediately get out of the way). But they’re six very enjoyable tracks, nevertheless. This isn’t high-energy music by any means, but it is hypnotic and does draw you in even-though there aren’t a lot of memorable melodies in the songs. They play much more like pieces of music that way. The production is spot on with a clean mix that helps cut like a knife, even in the least musical moments. The spaces between the notes where a good band really comes out.
The track list kicks off with “Sacred Cow” and it’s not what one might think when on the subject. It suggests more bite than the song delivers, but even if it takes getting used to, that is part of the country-ish charm of these songs. It’s almost like a techno-country sound, and sonically cool. The guitar solo is experimental and makes the whole track work by the time it’s over. There’s no question it is undeniably great, once you get the feel for it. But it takes some warming up for a minute or so to get there. This is a very soothing opener with a lot going for it, and easily one of the best tracks on the disc.
The vibe stays melancholy on “Sundial” but it still picks up much quicker from the get go. This is also one of the featured tracks, with a better vocal performance turned in as well. The quiet parts are what make or break it, as they seem to ride on the edge with me. I like some things about this track, but not everything. The vocals don’t shine even though his chops are fantastic, it’s the lyrics I’m not exactly wild about. It just takes more getting used to because of that. Maybe I will come around after more spins. I’m also not huge on how the track abruptly ends, but it’s better than a sharp stick in the eye.
If that’s not enough there’s always “When I Lived In Carolina” which follows a similar vocal pattern, but the lyrics much finer on this one. And the country leanings go the furthest on what is also not a bad one altogether. The vocals here just seem to grab you by the ears the most and let go the least. This is also probably the most America influenced track. Another track worth pointing out is the closing and title track “Happy Camping” which actually-sounds like nothing of the sort, but the storyline is solid and brings the proceedings to a proper end. And if anything, this release should put anyone onto Kazyak’s music.