Album Review: Missing Jack & The Kameleons

Band: Missing Jack & The Kameleons | Album: Human Cycle | Genre: Psychedelic rock | Year: 2023

From: Toulouse, France | Label: Six Tonnes de Chair

For fans of: Slift, Hawkwind, Neu!


Six Tonnes de Chair is a small French record label that specializes in garage rock, often with psychedelic and kraut-y flairs. I’ve covered acts from this label before (Perilymph, WEEED, Slift), and Missing Jack & The Kameleons fit into this general mold quite neatly. Their style draws a lot from late ‘60s garage rock, albeit often sounding a bit cleaner. Krautrock and surf influences are commonplace here, and they’ve got an overall fun feel.

“You Don’t Think” opens up with a buzzy, jumpy, krautrock-tinged riff. Flavors of surf rock are evident, too, especially in the airy backing vocals. There’s a bit too much going on with the drums for this to have a truly motorik beat, but the spirit is there. The rhythm is insistent and infectious, and it really complements the hazy atmosphere.

Surf flavors continue on “Hidden Gem”, with the main guitar line sounding like a blend between Dick Dale and the theme to a spy movie. Flavors from farther afield enter the fray, though. The backing vocals resemble throat singing at points, and the lead guitar often has a vaguely “Eastern” tinge to it. The conclusion is especially tight and anxious, leading to a thrilling conclusion.

What follows is the longest song on the album, the nine-and-a-half minute “One Drop Later”. Its opening moments float along lightly, and there are subtle hints of jazz, especially in the bass. Eastern flavors sneak in after a few minutes, and the guitar playing is great. However, this extended instrumental intro tends to meander and definitely could have been cut down. The verses, though, have a greater sense of urgency and purpose. The second part of this song is like a somewhat toned-down Slift piece.

“Offliners” has a funky, dance-y vibe to its opening. It’s catchy and groovy, and those upbeat elements are often contrasted with brief moments of tense sparsity. The fuzzed-out solo in the middle of the song is a lot of fun, and I really like the particular tone that they chose to deploy.

The opening of “Wegonnadie” is jumpy and bears some similarity to RX Bandits, albeit a bit slower and more relaxed. Despite the band’s rather cool, laid-back general air, this song manages to be tense and edgy, though not overbearingly so. In instrumental passages, some of the jangly guitar lines remind me of certain West African acts, such as Amadou & Mariam.

Human Cycle closes on “The Wheel”. It has a subdued, languid feel as wah-wahed guitar ripples out across the piece. There are some bluesy, Gilmourian licks in the opening solo, and this piece overall owes a lot to late ‘60s Pink Floyd (sans keyboards). This instrumental piece builds nicely to a satisfying climax.

Overall, Human Cycle is a fairly solid piece of music. The instrumental antics can be a bit drawn-out at times, but the good far outweighs the tedious. If you like garage-y psychedelic rock with occasional flourishes of prog and krautrock, I’d recommend this release.

Score: 77/100

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