Saturday, May 17, 2014

Vintage Blue-No Going Back

That Chicago's Vintage Blue can draw respectable numbers headlining Metro and chart an EP on Triple A radio without the benefit of a label is a testament to the band's hard work, their attention to song-craft and, most importantly, the accessibility of the music that the 6-piece group creates.

The radio-friendly EP in question, No Going Back, kicks off with "Let Go," and it is apparent from the opening notes that VB is (perhaps with some irony) not trying to re-invent the wheel or even keep up with current trends. The song simply charts a course that was first mapped out in the laid-back California goldmine of 70's rock (Eagles, Jackson Brown, Fleetwood Mac, et al) and nods a bit to the 1980s (dig the Men at Work-style sax) and 90's AOR (Vintage Blue has supported Sister Hazel and lists Vertical Horizon as an influence).

The title track is even more concise in its song-craft: heartfelt, lyrical verses; big, hooky choruses; some smartly downplayed synth to give the song color. "Remember" is a bit more artful with its toy vibraphone, beautiful vocal harmonies, trains a' comin' percussion, etc.

"Alone (I Can Hear)" is the closest thing to a modern rock hit; not as arch or Anglo as The Killers but definitely in the ballpark. "Carolina" turns back to the 70's but, again, the attention to detail is there: nice female backing vocals; country-rock and lite-funk influences (think Little Feat) and sterling production. No Going Back closes with "The Enemy," the most outwardly "rock" song on the EP, which shows some late-period Yes and even a bit of U2 in the band's DNA.

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