The ’60s definitely had a signature sound, but the ’60s had a lot of sounds, so it’s a cop-out to say that a band sounds like the ’60s. Unless, of course, a band incorporates seemingly every sound of that decade into its album, as the Danish quartet Blue Van has attempted on its sophomore release, Dear Independence. Per Jorgensen’s drums are always first to arrive notably, Steffen Westmark has vintage garage-rock pipes, and the band uses a Hammond organ as they sometimes dip into and other times fully baptize themselves in the Kinks, the Who, the Doors, Led Zeppelin, the Byrds, the Beatles, the Rolling Stones and all that obscure stuff that’s jumbled amongst your ’60s-focused comps.
Dear Independence consists of twelve Summer of Love-sounding radio-ready jingles that burn out in three-minute clips with energy to spare. Romping through ’60s garage and up-tempo ’70s rockers, the Blue Van is essentially mining the same territory as Jet, but it’s not nearly as annoying or shallow. Westmark sings about the time being right for loving, the seasons changing and the fear of a broken heart, dropping into a baritone when the keyboard is present so that nobody misses the reference. Even when a track opens to Main Street hip-shake or any other number of authentic blues-rock grooves, the Blue Van always seems to loop back through a jangled Byrds-y melody complete with upper-register oohs, aahs and na-na-nas. If it sounds ham-handed, it’s not: It’s rock ‘n’ roll, and it’s works because it’s catchy, inspired and totally genuine.