The debut album of a group of Asheville, NC based seasoned studio musicians, Smokin’ Voyages is a joyously nostalgic classic rock album.
The five members of Space Apaches are good at what they do. Proficient instrumentalists and songwriters, they even excel at recording; guitarist Andrew Reed produced a top 5 Christmas album, and Smokin’ Voyages teems with life, with loud 80s drums and roaring electric guitars.
They describe themselves as “kinda like a psychedelic Eagles, with a sense of humour,” and their website bio is endearingly dorky: “…After crash-landing, the Apaches marveled and realized that this strange chaotic planet was "beat-nirvana" populated by “beat addicts.” By reading Star, Us, People and Mad, the Space Apaches quickly learned what was important and assimilated all manner of Earthling culture… Presently the Apaches are exploring new frontiers of music and are learning to work Keurig’s machines with proficiency… Also, the rumors of them taking over the planet and turning all inhabitants into love slaves is greatly exaggerated… They have decided to leave Australia out…”
The band’s glorious dad-iness belies their musicianship, or when I really think about it, enhances it. I like the idea of a group of guys who have been playing music professionally for years getting together to write and record some good old-fashioned rock n’ roll.
And that’s really what the album is. The aforementioned psychedelia is actually not extremely apparent, and many of the songs have classic atmosphere which brought to mind American rockers like Ted Nugent and Sammy Hagar, with traces even of English influence: Cream, Zep, and the Who.
Track #2 “Sunrise” is my favourite off the album, with raucous drums and a great gravelly vocal from singer Aaron Price.
The album’s shortcomings lie in its predictability, but this is difficult to judge harshly. It’d be like saying AC/DC needs to step up their game and write a country album. Some people genuinely think that kind of thing – that Motorhead needs to push their writing capabilities – and many other people just appreciate the consistency of great rock music, album after album.
I really hope I’ll be talking about Space Apaches this way in a few years. If their output continues to be the same quality of this record, that seems pretty likely. Stream on Soundcloud here.
3. In My Mind
5. Desert Life