KARMA TO BURN — Arch Stanton
August 18, 2014, a year ago
West Virginia's instrumental stoner rock trio, Karma To Burn, fuse straight forward songs with a bit of groove and boogie-woogie rock on its sixth full-length release, Arch Stanton. Listening to all-instrumental bands is sometimes hard to digest. These types of guitar-driven instrumental bands such as Karma To Burn are more focused on dynamics and emotion than bands with vocalists. K2B’s musical landscape is shaped differently than “normal” bands and the guitars are there to provide depth and ambiance. Unfortunately, their music is lacking something special. There are no misguided assumptions as to what kind of band K2B is, but every track just seems like an extended free-form jam session. There’s nothing overly technical or challenging about their song structures, which are rather formulaic and lack variation. You’ll often find yourself yearning for some vocals or even a friggin’ guitar solo to kick in. But it never happens. In the past, the band has incorporated vocals on a few songs, but nothing doing here. There’s not a lot of memorable riffs or melodies to grab ahold of. And with the band’s choice to continue to use a numeral naming system for its song titles, each tracks seems somewhat impersonal and lacks identity. Ultimately, it all comes down to personal taste. It’s not that I’m against instrumental albums, but Arch Stanton just leaves me with an ambivalent feeling - it’s neither horrible, nor great.