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Vinyl Surprise EP offers a pleasant surprise

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Vinyl Surprise EP

4/5

On their debut EP student band Vinyl Surprise produces four tracks that are enjoyable and stay comfortably within the realm of blues rock.

By far the band’s most consistent aspect is their atmosphere. Each track is bluesy with a laid back feel, that not only calls back to artists like Jimi Hendrix from the 60’s, but modern acts too such as the Black Keys, while still managing a good deal of originality. However, the band still leaves room to build and really dig in to some tracks like “Goodbye Darling,” which also shows off a good level of musicianship from all the members.

The production as well is strong here. The contrast between guitar chords with layered tremolo and more tangy, bluesy guitars playing licks is a fantastic balance of soul and blues. However, the vocals are this album’s strongest point production-wise. While the vocals aren’t as gritty as you’d usually find in blues rock, tracks like “Honey” still come off with as much impact as a Janis Joplin song. The only issue is that occasionally the vocals and other guitar parts can sometimes overpower certain guitar leads; however, it’s a small issue, and it doesn’t detract much from these songs.

The songwriting here is mostly solid. The band knows how to tightly work grooves and melodies, and each song is memorable and differentiable while still maintaining a sound that is in no way scatterbrained. The guitar licks drive most of the tracks while the bass and drums provide the backbone of the songs with tight grooves, and the vocals really spark a lot of the passion and energy on this EP. There’s also a sax solo on the opener.

However, there are few spots where it feels like the band doesn’t quite reach that really high level of forcefulness, which leaves the listener wanting more. The drum fills on “Blah-da-didileedoo,” are just a bit too tame. The same could be said about the lyrics which at times are straight forward. However, blues rock has always been more about the delivery of the vocals instead of the actual lyrics, which they do well making it not much of an issue. The only minor nit-pick is that while the band brings an acoustic intro to the last song “Goodbye Darling,” the flow of the song ends up becoming somewhat scattered at the end when they try to incorporate it back into the bridge. Still, each song has something to it that’s good overall.

Overall, Vinyl Surprise’s debut is bluesy, memorable, and just enjoyable, showing that they’re ready to go forward as a band.

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Vinyl Surprise EP offers a pleasant surprise