CD Review: Vultures? “The Deuce” EP

Posted: September 12, 2011 by Windsor Zene in CDs, Reviews
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Vultures?, The Deuce

Years ago, Vultures! was a project that featured members of Bombast (and formerly Somatose) and This Is Me As A Woman. This four piece – comprised of bassist/vocalist Anderson Lunau (Bombast, Somatose, The Golden Hands Before God), drummer Scott Warren (Lone Locust, This Is War, Bombast, Somatose), guitarist Andy Langmuir (Lone Locust, Bombast) and Moog player/vocalist Kimberly Ann Kukoraitis (This Is Me As A Woman) – created a sound that was bold, fresh and straight up different than a lot of the heavy rock/indie bands at the time. They released a 4-song EP, The Very Best Of... in 2009 (that I previously reviewed on an older website here). They played a handful of shows and began to create a loyal local following. And then things took a turn for the worst. Lunau’s departure from the city temporarily ended the project, but upon his return a year later, the relationship between couple Warren and Kukoraitis had soured and she subsequently left the project. The remaining three regrouped and added former Somatose band mate Jeff Riley on guitar and began working together again.

They changed their name (slightly) to Vultures? and began doing shows here and there. Another small hiatus (Langmuir and his wife welcomed a baby) and they’ve returned with a brand new EP entitled The Deuce. The EP is free to download from their label/studio Rockerie Records‘ website.

“Knuckle Down” just may be my new favourite Windsor song of 2011. Lunau’s voice has never sounded stronger and his well-known love for vocal melody really shines through and makes this one of the catchiest songs in ages, in a vein similar to bands like Interpol or Editors – almost ’80s new wave hooky – or like if Midlake were more electrically heavier, or Tears For Fears tried to write a song for Queens of the Stone Age. The dynamics of this pop gem are all brilliantly executed and the production from Scott Warren at Rockerie Records creates a perfect blend. Each musician is given room to breathe and shine on this one. The end bridge part of the song is an emotional crusher. Simply awesome.

The second track, “Serendipitous Happenstance”, isn’t nearly as pop perfect as “Knuckle Down”, but it’s equally…well…bombastic. It’s a slower romp that carries it’s own swagger, again with a Tears for Fears feel in some of the vocal melodies on the chorus, but still unique that an exact comparison is impossible and would be counter-productive anyway. The layers on this song are mammoth – with superb backing vocals that add as much in their shadowed presence as the thundering drum work of Warren, the humbled vocals and minimalist bass lines of Lunau, and the guitar work of Langmuir and Riley. In fact, there are very few guitar tandems in town that have perfected the Art of Weaving as well as Riley and Langmuir – that ability that Keith Richards and Ron Wood of the Rolling Stones possess to play in-between each other rather than with each other, creating a sonic tapestry of guitar work, trading rhythms and licks with ease.

The thing I’ve always enjoyed about this group of musicians is that whenever they work together – whether it be early in Somatose, Bombast, Lone Locust and now two different incarnations of Vultures!/? – is that the find a way to remain relevant and fresh without rehashing vibes or songs from other projects. Their chemistry with each other is perhaps one of the most complimentary line-ups in town right now and that translates to an ease and willingness to create without prejudice, blending each other’s strengths and dynamics into creating a sound that is both hauntingly familiar yet beautifully anticipatory.

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