EP Review by Josh Maun.
Thevanityproject are a newly formed three-piece band who claim to be “bored and uninspired” with the recent music scenes’ latest offerings and came together to offer something different.
The trio, Emma, Beth and Ste, formed together early in 2011 and draw inspiration from a variety of musical genres, ranging from reggae, to dubstep, to folk music. Such a varied mix suggests this threesome could produce an exciting change from the overproduced pop of which they are fed up. After a short time together the band named themselves thevanityproject and recorded the “enthusiastically acclaimed” first demo in June 2011. .
The demo contains four tracks, all of which are acoustic, folky style tunes; a sound similar to that of acts such as Laura Marling and Mumford and Sons, who have found success recently.
“Structure of an atom” opens the demo and has over two-hundred plays on Soundcloud so far. Beginning with a good chord sequence, which is the base of the track and complimented by some well structured percussion; the signs are promising.
The lead vocals and lyrics are as the band describe, “thought provoking”, however, some of the strains for the high notes in the track do feel slightly over stretched and come across sounding painful.
Yet the backing vocals are good, having a soothing, smooth sound to them and are repeated throughout the track with the numerous chorus’ of “someone read my palm, someone read my fate.”
The track builds towards the end with the guitar becoming heavier for the finish.
Second up is “We Will Rise”, slow in temp again, starting with an intricate blend of guitar, flute, and shaker moving into more well thought out lyrics complimenting the delicacy of the instrumental.
The chorus “together we shall rise and together we shall fall….” has the best vocals on the demo, with a smooth vocal harmony of both Beth and Emma which would appeal to the mass market, yet the local folk feel is still kept in this track. By far my favourite track on the album.
Bringing the tempo up slightly, with edgy drumming and strumming is the third track on the demo “Soul is Sold”.
A solid effort with decent lyrics but again the higher notes in the chorus do seem a little strained. Though the way “I just thought I’d let you know” is repeated so many times, is a feature that creates a feeling of charm and is the perfect antidote to auto-tuned music which has led them to feel “uninspired.”
The deeper vocals in the verses seem more suited to the lead singers voice and the verses throughout, mixed in with the edgy track have a good feel to them. Towards the end the shimmering whispery backing vocals “somebody’s going to sell your soul,” add a promising edge to this track. The extra tempo gives the demo a much-needed kick, a good all round song.
“I Fear Nothing”, closes the demo with the now familiar acoustic guitar and hand drummed percussion.
The drumming throughout this track impressed the most, with some excellent fills towards the end. The track begins rather slow but builds to a crescendo to end.
“Devastation on the streets” gives the song a harder, topical feel at this time where crime and unsafe streets are at the forefront of people’s minds.
The bold claims that they “fear nothing” help give the end of the track an uplifting, victorious feel.
A good solid end to a demo which has a lot of potential.
All in all, I felt the demo was good, although, after reading the band’s biography of wanting to “create an epic soundscape” and their drawn inspiration from dubstep, I was expecting a more upbeat, fusion of ‘Folkstep’ rather than what has been created, which is mostly folk based, sounding similar to “The Corrs.”
But with a little polishing on the main vocals and a few more up tempo songs this band could be really something, although on their desire to be “unique”, and “imprint their name on contemporary music” there is a long way to go.
You can listen to the EP here: http://soundcloud.com/thevanityproject