Review Summary: The start of something new.
Thomas Erak seemed to be having a pretty rough early 2010 with regards to his music. Still recovering from the poor critical reception garnered by In the Unlikely Event
, turmoil between his band mates about the musical direction of the band culminated in a joint decision that The Fall of Troy
was over. While his former band mates Frank Ene and Andrew Forsman left to pursue their own musical endeavors, what was Thomas to do?
He called up former High School band mate and drummer Jay Beaman (Tribune
), guitarist Jake Carden (The Filthy None
), and bassist Henry Batts to start a new ***ing band that’s what.
This was the start of Just Like Vinyl
, an American band that specializes in, as Erak calls it: “explosive guitar-oriented rock”.
Thomas Erak (Lead Guitar/Vocals)
Jay Beaman (Drums/Percussion)
Jake Carden (Rhythm Guitar/ Vocals)
Henry Batts (Bass/Backing Vocals)
Right from the get go, something immediately noticeable to former listeners of The Fall of Troy
is Thomas Erak’s improved vocals. While he’s no Daryl Palumbo or anything of the sort, his vocal work rarely becomes a bother to listen to and he even gets time to shine on songs like Kite
and The Circulatory System
Not one to slack on his guitar work, Thomas Erak all but abandoned the effect heavy guitar leads found in his previous band for a more “organic” approach (for lack of a better word). This combined with his expansive music theory and the arrival of second guitarist Jake Carden allows the duo create consistently entertaining riffs, prominently featured in the songs Death of the Sheep
, No Friend of Mine
, and Epiphany
Not to be left behind, Jay Beaman mans the kit with precision and provides some interesting fills here and there (see It’s Over
for a good example) but these sections are rare, and the 1:13 he gets to show his stuff on the frantic track D.R.U.M.S.
is not enough to make up for a merely perfunctory performance elsewhere.
Saving the least for last, Henry Batts never really gets the chance to show his creative chops on creative bass lines. Though he works in tandem with Jay Beaman to provide a comfortable wave for the duo of Erak and Carden to take the reins of the album’s direction, he never decides to step up and take some spotlight for himself.
This leads to my main issue with the album as a whole; it falls into a formulatic pace throughout its runtime and some of it can be just plain boring and over-ambitious. Songs like Wisdom Teeth
and the Slash-influenced Pulled Apart
promise an enjoyable rock tune but quickly fizzle out before they can deliver the goods while the previously aforementioned album closer It’s Over
doesn’t do nearly enough in its 8:29 run time to justify its length and definitely would’ve benefitted from shaving off a minute or two from the aimless passage at the tail end of the track.
Just Like Vinyl
is a band that shows as much potential for growth as it does for failure, but if the high performances here are any indication of what’s to come, they just might be the band to watch in the near future. Keep it up Erak, you’ve got my attention.
Jake Carden’s vocal work on Epiphany
Guitar work is consistently well done.
Production is well done for a debut album.
When the band is on the same wavelength as each other, the music is catchy and fun to listen to.
Boring and over-ambitious at times
Jay and Henry don’t get enough opportunities to shine
Thomas’ vocals are still on a love it/hate it basis
Death of the Sheep
(Best song on the album)