Sheffield five-piece Kartica kick-off their debut single “Don’t You Think So?” with a thump that eases into elegant piano and acoustic guitar interplay as the song builds up to a triumphant crescendo before a sensational guitar lead and Matthew Hook’s magnetic voice whisk you away into towering rock and roll sublimity.
On first listen, you can’t hear Kartica without your mind rushing through a memory scroll of all the wondrous things you felt for Oasis at the height of their musical prowess and knack for writing songs with trans-generational shelf lives. There is no denying the similarity of Hook’s stunning vocals to those of Noel Gallagher. Kartica lists the likes of Oasis, The Verve, Stone Roses and The Beatles as primary influences, and their unwavering love for those exceptional bands is scrawled all over “Don’t You Think So?” Make no mistake though: Kartica is not being casually derivative, and they have no intention of riding the coattails of fellow Brits that came before them.
On the strength of their debut single, Kartica proves they have the proficiency and drive to be magnificent in their own right, and if they happen to be recognized in the same class as a few of the most influential bands to have ever hailed from the UK, then so be it. “Don’t You Think So?” makes it damn clear Kartica doesn’t intend to play second fiddle to anyone. And what better time than now for a band to rise up with the power to write truly grand rock and roll songs with heart, massive hooks and the desire for longevity?
“Don’t You Think So?” is a soaring rock achievement brought to vivid life with a timeless pop hook and a bubbling pool of optimism that couldn’t be any more welcome than at this very moment. “This is the moment / This is the night / Has there been a better time? / I don’t think so / Someone should think so” is the chorus that should catapult Kartica into hearts of masses. Times and tastes have changed, but even if Kartica doesn’t pull off a record-breaking debut coup on par with the blitz fellow Sheffielders Arctic Monkeys achieved in 2003 or the campaign to dominate rock and roll that Oasis mounted with Defintely, Maybe in ’94, it won’t be for any lack of songwriting excellence or choosing the wrong influences. Releasing a collection of songs as strong and gripping as “Don’t You Think So?” could provide them the ammunition to make a defining statement.
Should fate not smile on Kartica immediately, or should the fragmented music scene fail to rally around Kartica’s four-minute gem of triumphant Brit-rock bursting with life, you don’t get the sense the Sheffield boys are going to pack it in and sulk away. The song is so deeply fulfilling and fully realized that, you’ll have little doubt Kartica can’t do it time and again without stumbling into mediocrity. “Don’t You Think So?” is absolute proof that when a band with huge potential finds the key that allows them to bring all individual talents together, they can create something special, even if the force of it doesn’t necessarily to shock you into whiplash on first listen. Countless other bands have caught lightning in a bottle with a flashy sound and spiraled down into that deep well of wasted potential in today’s blogger-tastemaking music world powerless to its attention deficit disorder.
On my first listen to “Don’t You Think So?” I was intrigued, comfortable in the band’s similarities to Oasis and The Verve but maybe a tad skeptical of their ability to distinguish themselves. By second listen, I was engrossed; by the third, I became a Kartica die-hard. In the span of ten minutes, I went from never having heard of the Sheffield five-piece to championing a new band I adore. Doesn’t that sort of payoff sound like Kartica is worth a few minutes of your time?