Vessels
Helioscope


4.5
superb

Review

by James OBrien USER (19 Reviews)
March 6th, 2011 | 156 replies | 21,745 views


Release Date: 2011 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Equally adept as either a standalone release or a companion to White Fields, Vessels continue their infectious fusion of styles without missing a beat.

8 of 8 thought this review was well written

I want you to sit back and take in the idea of the Gray Wolf; a menacing and vicious predator, yet majestic and elusive. The gray wolf has developed into a highly social carnivore. These animals naturally live in nuclear families, often consisting of a mated pair which acts as despot over their subordinates. A wolf is perfectly capable of living on its own, but instead, over time their advanced instinct has allowed them to realize that working together can allow them to prosper. Working together is what defines wolves.

Obscure anecdotes aside, the latest offering from the band Vessels can be related as an analogy. Much in the same way as wolves, Helioscope can be seen as an element of a whole that works with another half. Much like the mewithoutYou albums “Catch For Us The Foxes” and “Brother, Sister,” “Helioscope” and previous release “White Fields & Open Devices” work together harmoniously as perfect compliments to each other. Showcasing a mature and diligent progression, Vessels have advanced their fusion of indie and post-rock. The broad styles of yesterday have been roped in and condensed, the result being a strikingly concise and accessible record. Though the band relies on previously-explored moods and styles, Vessels has been able to successfully reiterate their sound, settling into a comfort zone without carelessly rehashing past material. Moods and emotions feel fresh and new, and yet warmly familiar, like long-lost memories reflected upon with a newfound outlook.

From the beginning, Helioscope opens on a much brighter note than its natural companion. “Monoform” is upbeat and enthralling; with a driving drum rhythm which supports a pleasant guitar attack. Dynamic levels rise and fall, outlining the large post-rock influence of this group. Through its progression, Helioscope entails a strong sense of organization. Songs flow naturally into each other with styles building and receding at just the right time. (It should be noted that the iTunes version of the album includes a near album’s worth of bonus tracks, which do somewhat unbalance the flow. However, these songs are not just for novelty; they are actually all worth listening to.) Vocal tracks are inserted at perfect intervals to provide just the right amount of contrast, though they do seem to be a bit shyer this time around.

When vocal moments do arise, lead vocalist Tom Evans captivates the listener with his charming voice. Harmonies are well-thought out, indicative of many indie rock styles. On the song “Meatman, Piano Turner, Prostitute” (I want some of whatever drugs they were on while naming that song), Evans shows a near Thom Yorke style of singing, which is incredibly relaxing over the wave-like progression of the song. Other members of Vessels are certainly not inept on their respective instruments. The drummer shows well-developed chops, equally willing to blast out powerful beats and soft side-stick rhythms. His work shows off a very furious, yet tight and controlled style of drumming which is wonderfully tasteful. The guitarists do an exceptional job melding elements of indie into their overlapping post-rock storyboard. There are many truly intriguing riffs and a vast array of effects which any indulgent shoegaze fan will lap up. These are complimented by atmospheric pads and melodic bass lines.

As a whole, Helioscope portrays emotions of hope, sadness, and disparity, all hallmark methods of mood-control utilized by post-rock artists. But unlike the giants of post-rock, these moods are not as fleshed out and as powerful. At times, an anorexic side to the music can show through to unpleasant surprise. Lyrical work is meaningful and well-executed, but does not prominently rise above the music itself. As a result, the vocals seem like more of an instrument than a method of story-telling, which is not necessarily bad, though it certainly makes the album a bit less memorable. What is memorable bout Helioscope is the excellent musical composition, which successfully recreates the styles found on White Fields while still being completely original.

Helioscope can be thought of as the other side of White Fields & Open Devices. Like a companion, it completes the band’s direction. Like the phrase “You scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours,” this record does justice to the moments White Fields did not fully grasp, and vice-versa. Having settled into a comfort zone, Vessels are able to continue their interesting fusion of indie and post-rock music to great effect. This fusion, along with a matured sound, allows Vessels to be as accessible and concise as they have been yet. Whether taken as a companion or as a lone wolf, Helioscope is an excellent album which should be heard by any fan of post-rock or indie alike.



Recent reviews by this author
Message to Bears DeparturesHRVRD The Inevitable And I
The Felix Culpa Sever Your Rootsyourcodenameis:milo They Came From the Sun
Radiohead The King of LimbsMogwai Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will
user ratings (166)
Chart.
3.9
excellent
trending alt & indie albums

Lowborn

The Hunting Party

AM

Reflektor

Comments:Add a Comment 
UnnamedOcean
March 6th 2011



3950 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

This record is growing on me with every listen. It's easily a high 4.5 right now.

If you notice any big typos or anything, tell me so I can fix them.

Scoot
March 7th 2011



17681 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

this really good?

Digging: Unjust - Glow

Electric City
Staff Reviewer
March 7th 2011



15727 Comments


fuck yes vesselssss

Digging: Joyce Manor - Never Hungover Again

acorncheese
March 7th 2011



7119 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

FUCKKKKKKKKKK YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS! Finally a review. I preordered it on double vinyl last night. Check with the boys on facebook and they said it'll be shipped in one to two weeks. I can't fucking wait. Not going to listen to it until I get my vinyl/cd. Until then I'll have White Fields on nonstop. Going to read review now.

acorncheese
March 7th 2011



7119 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Just read the review. AWESOME, dude. I've not yet heard it, but I'm quite sure that Meatman, Piano Tuner, Prostitute features a
guest vocal appearance by Stuart Warwick (Jacob's Stories).

acorncheese
March 7th 2011



7119 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Also a bit disappointed to hear that there are less vocals than there are on White Fields. I was really hoping it'd have the same amount, if not more, vocals.

UnnamedOcean
March 7th 2011



3950 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

It might be just me that thinks it has less vocals. It's rather hard to tell. Overall there is this feeling of less vocal parts.

SeanFracture
March 7th 2011



35 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

Absolutely stunning record. Vessels are probably my favourite UK band now that Oceansize have departed.

As Acorncheese has noted, Stuart Warwick is the man providing the Thom Yorke-ish beauty on Meatman. Stuart, and his previous act Jacob's Stories, is well worth checking out, he's a real fucking talent.

DurzoBlint
March 7th 2011



1171 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Album is excellent. Not quite as good as their first though.

lancebramsay
March 8th 2011



1585 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Good review, pos'd

Love the vocal sound, actually I love pretty much all the sounds.

letsgofishing
March 9th 2011



900 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Yeah, this is definitely some of the best post-rock I've heard in a while.

can see me bumping this to a 4.5 in a couple of listens.

Digging: Kayo Dot - Choirs of the Eye

coleba
March 10th 2011



788 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Excellent review, hope it gets featured to get this band more attention. Album is fantastic as expected. Band is so underrated. These guys are the most exciting act in post-rock in my opinion. Percussion on this album is awesome - if you haven't seen the vid of them playing 'Trap Them' check it out. Great teamwork on that song, though, in my opinion, 'Meatman...' is among the absolute best tracks of the year. If fans of the first album haven't picked up their S/T EP do it now. It's incredible too. Also fans of this, pick up Six Gallery's album.

bodiesinflight57
March 10th 2011



869 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

vessels are awesome. need to hear this.

lancebramsay
March 11th 2011



1585 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Why am I having such difficulties finding this album?

someone link me in my shoutbox please

acorncheesee
March 11th 2011



428 Comments


buy it

UnnamedOcean
March 11th 2011



3950 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Definitely buy it. With the bonus tracks on iTunes, you get 17 songs for $9.99

Not a bad deal.

letsgofishing
March 11th 2011



900 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Yep...4.5

PS. spend the ten dollars, it's worth it.

lancebramsay
March 11th 2011



1585 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

So it IS on itunes. Wasnt showing up for me....

acorncheesee
March 11th 2011



428 Comments


It might only be on UK itunes right now.

letsgofishing
March 12th 2011



900 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Nah..I'm in America..got it here.



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





FAQ // STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2013 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Privacy Policy