New Jersey four piece rockers Kodiak are championed and co-managed by iconic rock drummer Carmine Appice and their second single “Alone” builds on the momentum generated by their first single release “Goodbye”. Both songs are culled from their forthcoming debut album, produced by Appice himself, and the new release illustrates a different side of the band than listeners heard with the aforementioned “Goodbye”. “Alone”, of course, zips by with the same hard rock chops distinguishing the first single, but it has a light commercial edge “Goodbye” lacked. This nod to versatility bodes well for the forthcoming album – Kodiak is far from an one trick pony.
It is unsurprising Kodiak has drawn comparisons with contemporaries Greta Van Fleet, but they are cut from a different cloth. Kodiak is working within a well established tradition, but they have a much more individual voice not as beholden to obvious influences. Their pedigree is much aligned to hard rock in a 1980’s-90’s vein instead of harkening back further while eschewing the instrumental excesses common during that era. Appice’s production refrains from polishing their sound too much – Kodiak, instead, emerges from this single as band committed to writing and recording rough hewn guitar rock bubbling over with attitude and energy,
The opening of this review mentions the light commercial edge Kodiak adopts for this single. It’s a quality present throughout the entire performance peaking with the big screen chorus certain provide crowd pleasing moments. The vocals are another component that accentuates the band’s commercial potential. “Alone” boasts impassioned lead vocals, but never in the soulful blues style common throughout the genre’s history. Kodiak, instead, opts for a sleek and soaring approach astride the crest of the song’s musical wave and emboldened by youth.
Kodiak doesn’t carve out space for even a brief guitar solo in the song despite their clear talents with the instrument. It is a sign of the times, to be sure, but nonetheless welcome. Listeners will have little if any doubt a well chosen and appropriate solo might elevate the song’s overall impact, but its absence is a bit daring and signals their willingness to subvert audience’s expectations and forge their own path. They aren’t the sort of band to drop something into a track because they believe the audience expects it.
The rhythm section, Kodiak’s drumming in particular, is an engine room buzzing with life from beginning to end. Drumming is key to the song’s success – it is insistent from the outset and establishes a hard driving attack that carries audiences until the end. Kodiak released a video accompanying the single meshes animation with live action footage;. It is colorful without ever seeming gaudy and does a good job physically dramatizing the band’s go for broke performance style. Kodiak are fortunate to have a patron like Carmine Appice in their corner and their pairing has opened doors for the band, without a doubt, and more are due to swing wide open as well. Listeners should be hopeful more gems as good or better than the first two singles remaining waiting to be heard on the band’s pending debut. It is impossible to imagine otherwise.
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