Blue and green record exploding into shards

Class A EP

Narkan is the undiscovered gem of the UK underground rock scene playing supercharged, lush glam metal reinforced with big choruses, irresistible hooks, and strong harmonies. This band is a perfect finished product – their songwriting and instrumental ability are entirely to the industry standard, united in an unpretentious, authentic combination of creative flair and competence. You could take this band as they are, put them on a world tour with today’s biggest rock acts, and they wouldn’t look or sound out of place. In fact, if they got their big break this week, I would not be surprised.

The EP opens with a ballad, a seamlessly composed ‘My Medusa’, a touching song with evocative imagery that would be a music video director’s dream to work on, instantly offering a wealth of visual hints and ideas. The music mirrors the lyrics – slow and tuneful, full of melancholy, but still enjoyable and beautiful, cunningly sliding in a hook that doesn’t let go amid all the sadness and reflection. Guitarist Sergio shows good sense and taste in the way he handles his parts, and he never indulges in his instrument, leaving what he has to say laconic and to the point, but still sustains his solos for long enough for listeners to catch glimpses of true instrumental brilliance.

‘I Am Who I Am’ is a confident rocker centered on the vocals – singer Micky’s voice riding loud and clean over the tightly wound harmony without inhibition, pushing into a range that we almost never hear in genuine rock music these days. He, at times, draws influences for his intonations from European singers such as Klaus Meine and even Doro Pesch, but whatever he borrows from 1980s German singers, he makes sound like his own and manages to sound unique, his voice poignant and instantly recognisable. This singer is versatile – on the next track, ‘Eat My Ass’, he abandons the high-pitched urgency of ‘I am who I am’ and sounds almost brutal, as demanded by the song’s hard-edged harmony.

‘Wasted’, the closing track, is a big, space-rocking banger with a chorus that you would want to sing along to forever. Narkan have hit the jackpot with this one – this is the kind of song that would light up rock radio next to any other anthemic rock song, be it by the Ramones, Motley Crue, or Kiss. Bassist Dean and drummer Lee provide a flexible, swaggering rhythmic bedrock for the dense guitar, and Micky is frequently joined by his bandmates for a deliciously brash classic 1980s gang chorus routine. Like with all great songs, you don’t want it to end, just like you don’t want this EP to finish.

This band makes rock sound so fresh, so fun and so easy, that you start wondering why Narkan are among the very few on the scene who play it so fluently and naturally. Their secret, I guess, is in knowing how to say no to contrived pretense and elaborateness and to keep their music concise, authentic and truthful.

Guest article from Alyssa O.

Written by Guest Writers on

Between 2003 and 2009, [the-mag] had regular contributors from music correspondents covering their local scene. You'll find them all in the guest writers section. The specific writer is mentioned at the bottom of each article.

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