Monday 9 January 2017

1968 - Fortuna Havana (EP Review)

Release date: Feb 10th 2017. Label: Black Bow Records. Format: DD

Fortuna Havana – Tracklisting

War Dogs
Fortuna Havana

Band Members

Jimi Ray - Vocals,
Sam Orr - Guitar,
Tom Richards - Bass Guitar,
Tom Drury - Drums.


1968 return after a two year absence with their new EP - Fortuna Havana. Whilst their debut EP was more of a Desert/Stoner Rock sound. Fortune Havana sees the band change their direction further by adding styles of Classic Rock, Grunge, and Psych Rock. The band are newly signed to Black Bow Records which is kinda cool as that label normally sign much heavier acts compared to 1968.

Opening track - Vorpal - has a classic Soundgarden feel matched with a powerful Stoner Rock sound. It's a very loud song with rich moments of sixties/seventies rock and the modern sounding vocals add a cold exterior. The Desert/Fuzz Rock grooves allow the band to play highly impressive dual guitar riffs.

Second track - War Dogs - is a heavier and almost doomier sounding track with heavy distorted riffs opening the song before Black Sabbath atmospherics appear. Lead vocalist - Jimi - is influenced by the Stadium Rock vocals of The Who and Black Sabbath whilst still creating new ground of his own. The song contains a high amount of feedback with screeching Thin Lizzy style dual guitars being played at a fast pace.

Third track - Duchess - sees the band stick with the winning formula they created on the opening two tracks though they start to play a grungier/blues based sound. This is my favourite song on the EP as 1968 finally create their own individual sound. The psychedelic moments will take you into "Transdimensional Space Goat" territory.

Fourth track - Fortuna Havana - is perhaps the heaviest track on the EP. Heavy Stoner/Grunge sound with the twinge of sixties Classic Rock still for everyone to hear. The song has a distorted fuzz based groove as 1968 are channelling their love for all things Led Zep. They aren't the first band to do this nor will they be the last. Though I have to admit 1968 are perhaps one of the best modern sounding Classic Rock bands I've heard in a long time.

Fortuna Havana sounds timeless and some of that credit has to goto Chris Fielding (Conan, Skyhammer Studios). Chris recorded and produced this EP. 1968 will be recording their debut album with Chris at Skyhammer Studios which will be released later this year. Based on this evidence, the band may have a few more surprises waiting for us before the year is out. Until then, Fortuna Havana is a must-have release for all fans of Classic Rock and Stoner Rock.

Words by Steve Howe

Thanks to Dewar PR for the promo. Fortuna Havana will be available to buy on DD via Black Bow Records from Feb 10th 2017.