Arkells return to treat us with the perfect soundtrack to this summer’s campfire festivities. The band spent their unexpected time off – to find a way to keep on making music and ended up creating a 19 song album. ‘Campfire Chords‘ is all about creating a new soundtrack of their classic songs, removed from their studio wizardry and leaving just the melody and lyrics. They have treated us with a couple of extra tracks including the delectable latest single ‘Quitting You‘ and the outro ‘Take me Home’.
Arkells are not unfamiliar with the acoustic approach and those of you who have been fortunate enough to see them live would have probably seen front-man Max Kerman take his guitar and head into the obedient crowd to perform the odd unplugged classic. The sound of the acapella audience voices singing the choruses must have been in the back of the Canadian quintet’s minds when they produced the record. They have carefully managed to make a track listing that would be perfect for a live show .
Kicking off with the usually thunderous ‘Knocking at the Door‘ is a bold statement – strip back their mammoth anthem, pealing back the bombast to the bare minimum and just focus on the lyrics and melody.
The format has its flaws; some of these new versions may not live up to the original outings, but it’s all down to mood and if your vibe is to lay-back and soak up your old sonic friends, with some subtle choice instrumentation, then this is for you. And with being spoilt with almost 20 songs on offer, you’ll be fine to skip the odd one as there are so many perfect moments to encapsulate, like ‘And Then Some‘ and ‘Hand me Downs‘
‘Campfire Chords’ is an unexpected triumph where the band have had the freedom to experiment with their back catalog, whilst creating the beautiful soundscape to ease us out of this 2020 hell hole. Here’s to the band being able to recreate this album live in the future, whilst maybe sharing a few drinks and toasting marshmallows.