REVIEWED: Vasa - 'Never Have Dreams'

'Never Have Dreams' may start off with a very classic post-rock soundscape – gentle guitar arpeggios with heavy delay and reverb - but despite their origins in the city best know for starting and progressing the post rock trend, Vasa quickly blends in other elements and sounds drawn from various influences. There's the brief burst of a heavy breakdown that sounds almost like We Followed Tigers before slipping into something a little more math rock based.

The blend continues throughout the album, and while the band certainly relies on some of the well known sounds (tremolo picked guitars and fluttering bass) the compositions are much more focused and intentional than many of the bands with whom they might be compared. A minute or so into 'Cynthia' finds the band building from dramatic opening to very tense almost industrial sounds before breaking out into a fantastic chorus of melting guitars and soaring melody before a sludgy ritardando.

My only complaint (and this may be be more specific to the MP3 versions I'm hearing) is that there is a certain lack of fidelity and separation, with a very narrow stereo image. Even sounds that traditionally have a fairly hard pan like toms and multiple guitars seem to come right down the middle in some songs, and there's a lack of 'punch' when the louder moments burst in. It's frustrating because I can tell how this should sound in a live venue, and it's glorious, but it doesn't quite come across as strongly as it could on the record.

Overall the band pays very fine tribute to their roots without ever becoming stale. There are slow musical journeys and intense pay offs scattered throughout the album - the end of “Not Now, But Soon” delivers some of the tensest and most frightening musical rage since Mono. The jagged rhythms and unexpected changes keep the listener on their toes - the band seems eager to move on the next riff sometimes, though there are plenty of parts I could have stood to hear for even longer,. Seeing the band in a live setting would no doubt be a highly rewarding experience, so we'll hope for some international dates someday, but in the meantime pick up a copy of this record as soon as you can, and if you're in the UK look forward to seeing them all over this summer.


Written by Dan Nightingale


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