Thursday, July 01, 2021

Memory Of A Covid Free Festival With Caramel’s ‘Dreams Of 60s Counterculture’

In a previous review, I alluded to a new Summer of Love being on the horizon; that wasn’t just my own prediction. 

It’s been bought up before in opinion pieces found in less interesting media outlets than this one. We are quite possibly at the cusp of a new teenage, artistic and sexual revolution – it is overdue.

 The ‘woke’ generation are about to show their predecessors what liberation really looks like. The lifestyle will be bohemian, and hopefully the politics will catch on.

Caramel seem to be keen to help lead the charge by doffing their cap to the past and make their mark with glittery nostalgia with their debut release ‘Dreams Of 60s Counterculture’. Noel Gallagher once said the current generation is the most nostalgic – for him that only goes back to 1994 – Caramel are banking on this, but they set their gaze a little further back.


That is lyrically at least, musically it’s a vibrant slice of British pop. It harks back to the melodic heights of Razorlight & The Zutons. It’s energetic and full of youthful abundance. It has enough sonic exploration to pull its weight with the current crop of indie big guns, but its sound is more indebted to the rawer power pop of the mid-2000s. As the song builds to its climax, a horn section is introduced which gives the song a slight Burt Bacharach vibe that blends in beautifully, reminiscent of Amy Winehouse and Mark Ronson’s cover of the aforementioned Zutons classic ‘Valerie’. 


With a title like ‘Dreams Of 60s Counterculture’ it’s unsurprising the lyrics are full of imagery that evokes Woodstock, San Francisco and the music that went along with it. The opening lyrics are “I’m obsessed with men who play guitar/And sing songs longer than their hair” which is an apt way of getting across the message of escapism the band are aiming for. Co-Lead Singer and Songwriter, Jamie Broughton expressed their desire to write a song for people ‘that wish to be in a time that is not their own’. He does this succinctly with the pre-chorus of “It’s my escape, this century just doesn’t suit me anymore”. The chorus then laments modern political chauvinism, but also takes aim at “stiff upper lips”, something the counterculture of the 60s did not do away with in this country, maybe this is a call to arms for the current generation to finish the job? Time will tell, but while this has all the hallmarks of a feel-good summer hit, it certainly has a simmering disdain for modern apathy that occasionally surfaces.


The Brighton four-piece recorded the song during the second nationwide lockdown, and it is clearly full of dissatisfied angst but that doesn’t get in the way of the well-rehearsed and tight sound. Sometimes the lyrics are vicious, but mainly they are escapist. ‘Dreams Of 60s Counterculture’ could be compared to Bowie’s ‘Memory Of A Free Festival’, but we only have nostalgia. With that nostalgia, Caramel might help soundtrack the inevitable revolution, in whatever form that takes. They, at the very least, sound like they’re ready to go forth and conquer festival slots around the country.


Tom Pritchard


 Image: Dreams Of 60s Counterculture Official Artwork


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