The Sunflower

Preview Review: Vehicles to release vinyl edition of “Echo”

Courtesy Photo

Courtesy Photo

Courtesy Photo


Last Saturday, I strolled out of Spektrum Muzik with two CD’s folded up in a rustling “Thank you” bag. One was a rustic copy of Ricky Fitts’s album, Wizard Lisp from 2005. The other was something that the Goth kids of “South Park” would have found rather amusing — a $10 copy of alt-synth band Vehicles’ mid-2017 album “Echo.”

Vehicles — based out of Wichita — has been playing venues nationwide since the release of their first album in 2006.

Echo,” which came out in April via Idol Records, is the band’s latest release. At the time, Vehicles struggled to find the money to release vinyl copies of the record, so

they decided to wait until a later date when they had more cash to spare, in order to put the record out on more than one platform.

In lieu of settling for April’s CD release —Vehicles is planning a new release of freshly pressed vinyl copies of the record. Come early October, Vehicles plans to have the full-length versions released in stores like Spektrum Muzik and surrounding music shops.

As for the track listing of “Echo” and the merits of the cumulative piece’s standing as a quality bit of ICT tune-age, here are my two cents.

Originally, my thought was that I would be listening to some run-of-the-mill punk-rock band. In fact, the record store clerk told me Vehicles was “alternative.” Not entirely so.

After pressing play, shifting into drive and coasting past the Donut Whole, I had the following thoughts:

You’re flying through a hurricane wall into the eye of the storm; your Sansui amplifier and record collection are in tow and exactly the track you would imagine is echoing in the background — the notes floating in the winds off the coast of an imaginary Florida Key —the opening song, “Young Bombers.”

Cloud’s vocals come floating through the ripping first track, opening like the voice child of Roger Waters and The Cars’ Rick Ocasek. The similarity to Waters is especially apparent in the final song of the album,“Curious.”

But there is something important in “Young Bombers” that garners attention. Cloud’s succinct lyrics point a vituperating finger:

“You’ve got a real hot button, you’ve got a heart of sin, you need just one hand off, you need someone to count to ten”

Cloud tells us here in slant rhyme of a frustration that has been inflicted. Not only can that frustration be felt in the words, but the guitars and bass in the song match the lyrics’ fury.

Throughout “Echo,” similar matches of instrumentation and lyrical backdrop can be found. Take the first lines of “Curious,” for example:

“What can we see, tonight, in this marketplace, of empty space, you’ve hung in shadow”

Amid a marked degree of somberness in lyrics that point to the everpresent vacuity that at times marks the daily lives of humanity, the band matches suit with an acoustic sound.

That is not to mention Isaac Pearson’s seminal guitar solo on the track in question. Pearson plays with a style just shy of being truly David Gilmour-esque.

With lyrics and music that match entirely in spirit and vibe, I would not hesitate to say that “Echo” is worth the thirty or so minutes of listening. It’s psychedelic. It’s punchy. It just plain makes sense to the alternative ear.

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