Vast Countenance groove to the heart of the Kinks, the Beatles

March 5, 2008 at 6:58 pm (Alternative Rock, Indie Rock) (, , , , , , )

Derek’s New Music Bin

Artist: Vast Countenance

Album: As We Please

Rating: 8/10

Official Website: http://www.vastcountenance.nl

Written by Derek Jensen

Opening the indie-rock scene to blatant fan-worship of the ’60s, Vast Countenance breathe new air into an increasingly stale climate. These Dutch rockers embrace the Woodstock generation with giddy open arms and actually do not humiliate themselves. Their taste for retro rock is real and intelligently and coolly shaped into prime slices of garage-band nostalgia and British Invasion power pop. “Easyride” takes a look back at the Beatles’ ringing-guitar majesty without the bland coyness that often informs such efforts in the indie-rock world. “Clay” finds Vast Countenance investigating psychedelia while “Trumpet Slide” takes a walk on the wild, er, dark side of the rock groove.

Is there anything original here? My answer to that is: Does it matter? Rock & roll is so old now (more than 50 years, kids!) that all we can do now is recycle the same parts in different ways. If Vast Countenance want to take a time machine to the glory days of the Kinks, the Rolling Stones, and the Who, they certainly do so with youthful vigor and an inspired spirit. And they write attention-grabbing tunes with the crisp kick of an angry stallion. Fasten your seatbelts when the guitars take off on “This Year’s Fall,” making most of the post-punk wanna-be’s (they know who they are) look like wimps. Even VC’s mellow touches such as “Finelines” and “Telephone Line” are ethereal and pretty, making me long for the late, lamented Straitjacket Fits.

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