Reviewed: April 2022
Released: 2022, TMR Rock Records
Reviewer: Kieron Hayes
The Karma Effect clearly have a love for classic 70s and 80s rock ‘n’ roll, I’ll give them that much. Unfortunately, that love might just translate to a blindness to some of its shortcomings or lesser forms, as their self-titled album reflects.
These guys wear their influences on their sleeve, loud and proud. The Karma Effect is hard rock through and through, with what feels like a strong country rock bent much of the time. Crooning vocals, twangy guitar and lyrics of love, lust and heartbreak from start to finish. They get points for consistency in this regard, for there’s no mistaking what style they set out to focus on.
But it all ends up feeling so predictable and repetitive. Even one of the tracks on here sounds familiar right from the get-go, and there’s little variety within the album, save perhaps for the piano-accompanied ballad “Stand”, and even if that shifts a bit in style, it doesn’t ramp things up in terms of quality. Gottelier’s vocals never shift one iota across the album, and the whole tone is similarly unyielding: it’s just so damn happy about everything. Every moment of every song, it’s all so upbeat, brimming with chipper optimism, layered with offensively inoffensive rhythms, even in songs where it shouldn’t be. “Wrong Again” for instance, is a song about a break-up, with lyrics like:
I fell right into her nightmare
She acts like she don’t care
I’m always wrong
Now I’ve been trying to be strong
Realising I’m hopelessly holding on
Yet the tone of the music behind it all is that of a pair of best buds cruising down the highway with massive grins plastered on their faces.
The only track on the album where it all really works is “Steal Your Heart”. The rest of this honestly just feels like bargain-basement, disposable country/hard rock, the sort that probably would’ve been forgotten in the 70s, and will likely be so today too.