Review Summary: A very impressive first album for the Saskatoon Quartet. As intriguing as it is technical and intense.
Volcanoless in Canada are a 4 piece outfit hailing from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. Their first self titled LP, a nine track wonderbox of acoustic rock/folk/pop was released in mid 2007, and is available on iTunes worldwide for those that can't find a copy. VIC use a Tri-Acoustic guitar attack to create melodius guitar harmonies and are backed up by a flawless rythym section.
I heard about this band the way everybody seems to these days. I was scooting around MyFace or whatever it is called, and dug up this little gem, just after it's release. It was the eclectic mix of acoustic melodies and spastic basslines of 'She Moves' that dragged me into the VIC net.
The album begins with a small spoken exchange before exploding into 'Lithic,' an intense rythymic ditty with heavy snare drum, and rapid stroke, almost Spanish guitar lines. The one thing you notice about VIC during this song is that the vocal style of lead singer Mitch Lysak changes many times throughout the course of a song. In this he moves from a strong ballad style voice into a more desperate almost pained howling vocal style. This song is a good kick off to the album.
Next comes 'She Moves,' perhaps the best song of the album. Interlocking guitar melodies dominate the intro, some palm muted, some strung out, while the bass follows one particular difficult line, and the drums keep a steady, clap along 1, 1-2, 1-2-3 beat. This song is a gem, if not a little hard to understand the lyrics sometimes. Definitely shows VIC's more dance-hall anthem, crowd pleasing tendencies that gives them such a reputation for passionate and intriguing live shows.
The next song is 'Under the Radar (The Dance of Mistakes and Regret),' another song with a interlocking intro on guitar and drums. And again, another vocal style. This song is somewhat tiring to listen to, as there is alot going on throughout. It is difficult to try and focus on one particular guitar part. However, a good song, technical, but also accessible and fun to listen to.
Now VIC try another style, going for a folky kind of drawl with 'Funny Like Strange,' a slow walking sort of ballad with more laid back guitar riffage in the verses and intro, before launching into a strong outtro with a agonised howl from Lysak. Here the bass and guitar show off a little, following each other along their solos. The ending also reveals a darker side to VIC's music, with a few F Bombs launched, a precursor of what is to come.
Next comes 'Kill Her,' an agressively named, yet rather mellow song with one chord based guitar pattern, and two riffs played over the top of them. Also introduces choir style vocals as back up in the pre-chorus. To prevent dosiness in the listener, the chorus perks up with an increased tempo and use of backup vocals.
Next is the outcast of the album, 'Addictive Electricity.' If you are listening to this album and stumble into this without warning, the intro sounds like another typical VIC song, until the opening line.
'...Hey Dad, I hope you know your daughter's dead. I put a bullet up inside her motherf***Ing head...'
No doubt it is daring, after the songs that precede it, but it is still a good song, with a pleasant riff and steady beat. And a good vocal performance in the chorus.
Now comes the redemption. Perhaps another standout song on this fantastic album, 'We Win' is a long acoustic ballad in the same vein as 'Kill Her' with more beautiful lyrics. Also contains a cool break out section before the ending riff. A multi-staged masterpiece of a song and a fine display of the band musical ability.
The next song seems to be a concept song from VIC, 'Monster' starts with an a-capella intro from Lysak, before the usual riff over following bass and drums style of the rest of the album. Before a shouted coda leads into an electric guitar solo, the only time that electric guitar takes the centre stage on the album. It's surely a fine song, mastered well, not too technical, very rythymic and joyous and easy to sing along and clap to. The solo also builds the feel of the closing where Lysak again uses his pleading voice to hold a hand out to the listener.
A short finish to the album in 'Invisible/Invincible.' Just a quiet afterthought more than anything after the huge finish to 'Monster,' but is executed well and holds onto the heartstrings of the listener. Poignant lyrics to finish off a spectacular first LP.
Outstanding guitar work
Competent rythym section
Can start to overwhelm listener
It's too short!