NORMAN — The Kamals play psychedelic soul music. Forty years after bands such as Big Brother and the Holding Company, Blue Cheer and the Jimi Hendrix Experience rocked America, this Oklahoma City quintet are carrying on the tradition. They are hosting a self-titled EP release party tonight at Opolis along with Old Dog Records label mates the Trading Company and the Black Jack Gypsys.
The Kamals are vocalist and guitarist Zak Kaczka, bassist Trey Allen, drummer River Meyers, guitarist Brad Nance and keyboardist Loren Williams. They’re all under age 30 with Meyers being the youngest at 19.
“We’ve been jamming together for a long time. We’ve been friends since junior high and have had various bands in our circle,” he said of old outfits like Plaid Rabbits and Vultures of Culture.
“Those bands died and we formed The Kamals last August,” he said.
Their new 4-track disc is the product of concentrated effort and they recorded it themselves using a variety of techniques during the last three months. Crashing percussion, stratospheric guitar heroics and Kaczka’s canyon deep vocals make for a trippy blend.
“In our live shows we do a lot of jamming and improvisation,” Allen said. “We played a show in a friend’s field on St. Patrick’s Day and pretty much played all night.”
At Opolis they’ll be performing original material from a songbook that’s been growing each week. Creating new compositions is a collaborative effort.
“Don’t look for deep meaning in our songs,” Allen said. “But some of the lyrics are poetic and pretty heavy.”
Penning the words often falls to Williams who described one experiential song chronicling a murder and the perp’s subsequent hard time in prison.
“I wrote the lyrics for ‘Between the Tides’ at a time when I was moving out of my dad’s house and also got out of a long relationship with my ex-girlfriend,” Kaczka said. “It’s about changing times and becoming a different person than you were.”