Death Pop outfit The Vincent(s) released their new EP Valley of the Sun this August 23rd through FIFA records. The record is available in your usual formats, mp3 to download and on CD. However this September saw an eight track vinyl edition emerge with bonus track content. This is a cool touch and one that should certaintly appeal to “retro” lovers and sound purists everywhere. After all, record sales are the highest they have been in ten years; it’s nice to see that the old format is still being recognised and utilised.
We begin with ‘Who’s That Boy?’ a gloomy slow tempo number complete with gothic organs, dry industrial drums and bass with fuzz that could strip paint. The vocals whine and drawl over the steady pulsating rhythm, often they leap into shuddering coarse yelps which exposes the Cork accent. It’s pretty cool to hear the accent through music; it gives the band character and personality. The accent compliments this American desert vibe and conveys scenes of a post apocalyptic Ireland turned into a coarse barren wasteland with sagging destroyed urban landscapes. The song ends with a sleazy slide of feed backing guitar which moves us into the title track, ‘Valley Of The Sun’.
In ‘Valley Of The Sun’, slow drums and the steady thumping bass rumbles the track along like a ghost train. Wheezing saxophones pierce through the dark sounds. I feel like I’ve drunk too much and woke up having breakfast with The Monsters. The slightly distorted vocals are sleepy and ominous. Occasionally a guitar note slices into the muddy scene, like sunlight through a stain glass window into a spray painted and disused church. This instrumentation creates a cool effect. It evokes the feeling of a Halloween night celebration that has descended into a drunken mass of costumed freaks, lying around sipping Jack Daniels and smoking something other than tobacco.
Next is the EP’s most upbeat track, ‘Summer Song.’A strong kick counts us in under a quirky bass lick; the guitar bleats are simplistic yet float stylishly in the mix. The vocals in this track are complimented by the sweet harmonies of Aisling O Riordan. They blend into the track giving it a warm summery feeling. Although this track is a bit less dark than the first two, it could do more to be more exciting. It would be cool to see a more explosive side of the band at this stage in the EP. Perhaps a more drastic shift in tempo here would help inject a bit of energy and keep the EP from sounding repetitive. It is a nice song but a track one might have heard many times from other bands.
Finally we have, ‘Song For The Sea.’ This track swells, beginning with light oriental cymbal work and a chugging bass. Thin guitars slide in creeping like snakes, vocals lowered in the mix chant like a demonic prayer, the dark tone of the EP is reinstated. Although I enjoy the atmosphere that this creates, the final track is a bit too samey to the first two. At this stage in the EP I would enjoy hearing a more varied sound and see what else that band can do. I understand that the EP has a theme that they are sticking too, but this theme can be maintained in other ways.
The overall production quality of the EP is slick and shiny which is cool when we compare it to the darker tone of the music. It adds a shimmering brightness like a desert sun. The mix is also fantastic. The instruments have space to breathe; we can enjoy the elements that create this dark tone to their full extent. This is no amateur job. The skill of the instrumentation is top notch and the vocals have a nice tone and diction. However the record fails to maintain excitement for me. Towards the end I found myself getting a bit bored, searching for a bit more variety in the structure of the compositions. It is a record that is good for a specific mood, or indeed to play when planning your own ghoulish Halloween night, but not something that one would listen to long term.
◀ STANDOUT ⁞ Who’s That Boy ▶
◀ SOUNDS LIKE ⁞ Altered Hours ▶