Review Summary: A bit more electronic, atmospheric release from VAST that lets Jon Crosby continue to channel his inner acoustic-ness, and wouldn't be half-bad if all the songs hadn't been released before in almost identical fashion on Crosby's solo CDs.
Recently, I’ve felt like all Jon Crosby needs to cheer him up is a big, gigantic hug. The music under the VAST moniker has always been a self-loathing, depressed style of music, but recent years have obviously taken a toll on the man’s psyche. There was the two major-label albums which were typical alternative/electro-rock gore, then there was the exotically depressing double album Turquoise and Crimson, and then there was the bare, acoustic, melodramatic April. Obviously, a variety of factors affected his mind, between his weight, issues with his early album’s rights (which he holds no rights to this day), loss of relevance, etc, and his music has rightfully shown that. VAST’s recent affection for this sappiness and acoustic grandeur is once again delegated on the band’s latest album, Me and You.
Yet the album isn’t as bare and eclectic as expected. There’s a bit more throwback on here, for example, many of the songs are a bit more like the half-acoustic half-electronic songs on Music for People, and some sound a bit like R.E.M. The songs carry that sappy tone of recent VAST albums, but it has a little more of the lush, atmospheric production of past releases mixed with electric guitars again. Crosby’s vocals are beautiful, the most refined that I’ve heard from him in a very long time, and the riffs are all precise even if they sound a bit familiar (which is just most likely due to the guitar tone).
There’s one gaping hole in this release. All the already been released under Crosby’s solo project “Generica”. And despite what Crosby says, VAST is an electronic venture, and I was disappointed to find the album wandered more towards the pseudo-folk rock stuff that is so popular today than what made VAST so huge-electronic and orchestral sounds. Acoustic guitars just don’t have much effect on my emotions as the disturbing cello in Flames or the delicate piano and guitar in I Don’t Have Anything. That’s possibly what’s missing, the wide range of emotions. It’s all sad and depressed, there’s no emotions other than that, which all the other albums had-even April.
Essentially, my biggest bone to pick with the album is that it’s unnecessary. I love the lush production, and if April had never existed, I’d have no problem with the album, it is lush, acoustic, fairly exotic like older albums, and deep. But it’s kind of a “double whammy” to throw two acoustic ventures back-to-back, and all the songs being remixed solo songs. Not to mention, really the only difference on Me and You's songs is vocal effects and an orchestra in the back. There’s a few solid mentions like “You Should Have Known I’d Leave” and “Hotel Song” for a VAST fan’s library, but at the end of the day, Me and You looks like an unnecessary album released because his solo project didn’t sell well.