Despite the open flower-print shirt and long-blond-lock antics of Robert Plant, Led Zeppelin’s catalogue of raw, cathartic blues rock remains a headstrong Viking-ship image that represents all that is unholy about getting drunk and knocking shit over. There are moments on Innaway’s self-titled debut that are similar to the punchy Yardbirds’ throwaways on the first Led Zep record, but this band probably won’t have an infantry of black-high-top-clad longhairs in its wake. ‘Tis a shame.
California-based Innaway isn’t all about the United Kingdom’s days of old on this LP, though the band’s five members do a fine job of floating single-note guitar licks along Sabbath alchemy in tracks such as “Rise,” where singer Jim Schwartz offers an eerie “No Quarter” melody that’s quarantined only to the left channel. “Rise” is part of a two-section larger piece, and its well-structured creepiness is followed by the peyote-soaked “Fall,” a shorter mess of tribal drum sounds and amp feedback.
The finishing touches of Innaway’s polished production come from John McEntire, who’s worked with Stereolab and Tortoise, among others. It may be his capable hands that keep a generally modern feel in the final mix, helping these gents avoid falling into the much-traveled genre of the throwback act. Innaway’s instrumentals don’t do much to upturn the staying power that is forged with the vocal numbers, with one exception: The largely synthetic composition of “Golden,” with its programmed beats and barrage of squeals, hints at a band not remotely comfortable with nostalgia. It may even be one of the stronger cuts on the record – vocals or not.
"Follow Moon" (Live MP3)
Ghost (MP3)" from the Ghost Admirers EP