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Caravel - Single Review: Gold Coin

13 Dec 2022 // A review by Steve Shyu
Right out of Poneke Wellington are four young and eager musicians, boldly named Caravel, a blues rock outfit born from the rehearsal spaces of Paraparaumu College. With Katie Parker on the mic, brothers Malachi and Joshua Ray on guitar and bass, respectively, and Joel Mitchinson on sticks-and-skins, the teen group have gained traction over the past few months. Having performed at Zeal Kapiti and regional Smokefree Rockquests, Caravel have just released their very first studio-recorded single.

Gold Coin is driven by a very robust groove, thanks to Joel’s solid drumming and Josh’s colourful basslines. The guitar riffs are a delight to listen to, and should make even the most seasoned blues players nod in approval. The song cleverly makes the most of some well-timed syncopation, further bolstering that groove. Katie’s vocals come across confident, and adds power to the song every time the chorus comes around.

There’s brief drum solo near the end of the piece, where I found myself sitting up, listening, and thinking “Is he gonna catch the beat, will he make it??”, and Joel does, adding a little bit of thrill to the listening experience. The song wraps up with one more go of the chorus, then rounding off with a skillful and very impressive guitar solo.

Seemingly recorded live in one take, with minimal tinkering involved in production, the track sounds raw and unfiltered. Though the quality initially took me by surprise, after a few listens I found it actually works to their advantage. The “DIY” vibe only makes the song sound more authentic, and summons that classic 60’s and 70’s rock aesthetic that Caravel are evidently influenced by. It’s almost like a homage, if you will.

There’s plenty to like on Gold Coin. A tremendous effort was made, and the end product does not fall short of impressive. In future, I’ll personally be keeping an ear out for Caravel to see where their ship sails to, as their direction sure sounds promising.

Many writers before me have openly dismissed Gene Simmons’s infamous remark that “Rock is dead”. Gold Coin proves him wrong. An up-and-coming band of blues-rockin’ teens straight out of school writing a tune as groovy and cool as this? There’s a good batch of Kiwi acts rising through the ranks. Good honest rock is alive and well.

Rating: ( 4 / 5 )

About Caravel

Malachi and Joel met in the corner practice room of Paraparaumu College performing arts
centre. They both carried a passion to express themselves through blues rock. Both played various instruments to varying degrees but Malachi as the oldest member was after a drummer. Joel accommodated this request and their search for accompanying musicians with a similar vibe began.

It took two years and several musicians before they found Katie P. Katie auditioned but it felt more like a puzzle piece had been found! Katie carried her own persona, her own character, her own value.

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