Saturday, November 20, 2021

Zack Oakley- Badlands (Kommune Records KOM-001)

This record has been in the making for a few years now and it is cool to see it out.  If you don´t recognize his name, Zach is the lead guitarist in JOY and Volcano as well as playing drums in Pharlee (all San Diego based).  For this album he has pulled together not only his brother on Drums but other members like Donavan (bassist in Pharlee), Gabe (Harsh Toke) and others Kyre Wilcox, Trevor Mast, Jody Bagley, Tyler Daughn, and Travis Baucum…  Zack wrote, arranged and produced all the tunes. The album starts off with a great track that is a bit like JOY meets Radio Moscow. I recorded some synths on the first demo of this track a few years ago. A great rocking opener.. I am the One starts with some wah guitar and a stop start like rhythm before taking another path and a bit more melodic and a bit of a psychedelic touch on the vocals and some cool effects on the guitar at different points. A very dynamic track. Desert Shack has this sort of 60s vibe with some nice backing vocals and also a more laid back lead vocal. The vocals are a real focus on this track but lovely lead guitar as well. Side A ends with the short rocker, The Fever. 

Side B starts with Mexico, a more bluesy track with some harmonica and then goes into a more psychedelic direction with a nice guitar solo section. Lookin’ High Searchin’ Low is an acoustic guitar based blues track with some old school slide guitar.  Acid Rain is a more retro sounding track with some nice heavy wah guitar.  The album ends with a more moody track called Badlands with some funky guitar and a couple of nice guitar solo sections. This is the longest track on the album. Love the double tracked guitar as well and Dylan does a nice solo towards the end as well.  

What a fantastic eclectic record showcasing so many styles and also showing what a diverse and great guitarist Zach is.. This will for sure be in my top 20 this year, well worth seeking out.

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