Vicinity: Recurrence (Mighty Music)
Vicinity are a Norwegian progressive metal with a melodic streak. Similar to Circus Maximus and Haken in style with racks of keys, emotive songs and long run times, that are not really noticeable due to the constant light and shade keeping you hooked. The choruses are huge and encourage much fist pumping from the listener which is never a bad thing, when a progressive song becomes an earworm you can tell the quality of a band as this is no mean feat.
What really impresses me about this record are the vocals of Alexander, high and nasal but with wide range able to expertly adapt to get constantly undulating musical palate below. Now at 6 songs in length you won't be expecting 4 minute pop songs but they really outdo themselves with elongated tracks as the fantastic duo of Phoenix and the jazzy, drum heavy Mountainfall clock in at 10 and 12 minutes respectively linking together almost seamlessly.
It's the last track however that really defines the world epic in all senses, The Last Goodbye has a 21 minute run-time and numerous shifts in tone with the keys and guitars in harmonious unison underpinned by the virtuoistic drumming and four stringing. This is only the bands second album and it's incredible, it never really misses the mark but also looks toward the future and hints that Vicinity can really go wherever the hell they want next time. 9/10
Slydigs: How Animal Are You? (Self Released)
With high profile supports of The Who, Catfish and The Bottlemen, The View and Pete Doherty and two full European tours with Vintage Trouble, UK rock band Slydigs definitely aren't inexperienced when it come to performing, we actually saw them on the Vintage Trouble and were impressed by their distinctly British R&B. Do you remember the band Jet? Well Slydigs do what they tried to do with a bit more authenticity and grit.
They have lauded by The Who and Eddie Vedder with particular kudos given to Dean Fairhurst's raw vocals. How Animal Are You? is their second EP and it has 6 songs that show you what Slydigs are all about, 3 slices of acoustic troubadouring and 3 of bluesy, 60's tinged rock n roll that is reminiscent of The Stones and The Kinks but with a Northern honesty last heard from Oasis who have a sonic imprint on The Kids Feel Underrated.
This is the perfect kind of music for those that still cling to their afghan coats and John Lennon sunglasses, from the hip shaking title track, to the bluesy flavour of The Truth Will Be Found rounded out with the southern style slide rocking of Suburban Confinement. The lyrics are honest and thought provoking, commentating on modern culture both good and bad. Fairhurst is joined by partner-in-crime Louis Menguy on lead guitar and the funky bottom end of Peter Fleming (drums) and Ben Breslin (bass), together they make some very good music together, premium fodder for youth stations such as Radio 1, but with a bit of gravitas to it. To answer the question posed by the EP title I'm 80% bear so I hope that helps. 8/10
Perfect Blue Sky: The Eye Of Tilos (SMG/Right Recordings)
Perfect Blue Sky are the collaboration between Swedish metal guitarist/vocalist Pontus (Pna) Andersson and Australian female rock vocalist/guitarist Jane Kitto. The Eye Of Tilos is their full length debut, their sound is hazy, pastoral, psychedelic rock from the Woodstock era, think Paisley Shirts, long hair and mind-expanding narcotics. Both Pna and Kitto share vocals on the tracks and they blend perfectly throughout, tracks like Silvertram remind me of Mostly Autumn at their most folky, with the track built around acoustic strumming and Pna's Floydian guitars there also some Jethro Tull spread thickly over everything.
The album flows well and is the ideal accompaniment to relaxing on the grass in the sunshine moving between Big Brother & The Holding Company Psych rock and more stripped back folk meandering, speaking of BBHC their mark is given to the music by Kitto's soulful holler and the inclusion of Dave Getz on drums who was in BBHC and provides the percussive groove he did to the original band. Elsewhere the duo are aided by Frank Bessard on drums (who plays the majority), guitarist Jerry Donahue, and keyboardist Danny Oakhill, they all add their talent to the songwriting of Kitto and Pna.
The Eye Of Tilos is great album that authentically takes from the Summer of Love and into the Californian rock scene of the early 70's if you had Lyndesy Buckingham and Stevie Nicks dropping acid rather than cocaine then this would probably be the result. Let The Sunshine In! 8/10