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Vaux - Beyond Virtue, Beyond Vice (Cover Artwork)

Vaux

Vaux: Beyond Virtue, Beyond ViceBeyond Virtue, Beyond Vice (2006)
Vx / Outlook

Reviewer Rating: 3.5
User Rating:


Contributed by: InaGreendaseBrian
(others by this writer | submit your own)

I've always regarded Vaux as more a live band than a studio one. It's not that their records are bad, per se -- both 2003's debut full-length, There Must Be Some Way to Stop Them and the followup EP, 2004's Plague Music both convey the band's best trait -- intensity -- quite well. However, when atta.
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I've always regarded Vaux as more a live band than a studio one. It's not that their records are bad, per se -- both 2003's debut full-length, There Must Be Some Way to Stop Them and the followup EP, 2004's Plague Music both convey the band's best trait -- intensity -- quite well. However, when attacked by a bawling, suffocating wall of noise including three guitarists and blinding spotlights in person, that's when you really start to understand the band. Maybe that's why it's so peculiar that the oft-delayed Beyond Virtue, Beyond Vice finds the band deeply exploring Radiohead influences to go with their normally Refused-styled, art damaged, electronic-tinged hardcore.

From that angle, sure, it's quite strange that the band would choose to integrate Thom Yorke's eerie, bleak and spacey vibes so heavily, because while it hardly affects Vaux's signature melancholy, it does reel in some of their aggression. However, let's remember for a moment that this is a band that gave subtle nods to the intensity of early Nirvana on their back catalog -- let's just say they're embracing `90s alternative in a different manner on Vice. Sure, that very slight style of pissed off grunge does manage to momentarily pop up, like on the first single "Are You with Me" (imagine Nirvana's "You Know You're Right" after several lines and a fifth of whiskey and you're starting to get the idea on that one). But the Pitchfork gods reign supreme as far as obvious and consistent influences go.

Don't be too mistaken: there's plenty of diversity, too. It's good to hear their roots still firmly in place on tracks like opener "Identity Theft," which starts off with a quick riff, a few drum kicks and sudden bursts of frothy screaming that sound sampled from any of Planes Mistaken for Stars' last few efforts. The aforementioned "Are You with Me" certainly proceeds with a vicious swagger, and that song's followup, "Cocaine James," is titled appropriately. "Never Better" even begins with chords that sound an awful lot like the ones that start Thursday's "War All the Time," but snarls at the chorus, culminating in the bridge with frontman Quentin Smith pleading under distortion "It couldn't get much worse!," building on his already prevalent desperation. "The Rope, The Pistol, The Candlestick" buries trip-hop beats in the mix so Smith can depressively elaborate on his paranoia ("somebody wants to do me in / somebody's got my number / somebody has it in for me / somebody's got my number"). "To the Nines" even rings with a bit of a Cash-like country twang at points.

It does seem that the further in we go however, the more suspect we are to this Radiohead influence. "A Simple Man" could be a Muse outtake, matching the 'head with distorted singing and a hard rock foundation. "The Last Report From..." creepily crawls with light piano and organ and healthy acoustics, Smith dragging his voice throughout ("I can't move anymore / it's so much harder than I thought"). "Burn the Bandwagon" is one of the few exceptions in the second half, going a little more rock'n'roll than its surrounding tracks.

The Vaux of old is hardly lost, but they've found some new tricks that while should provide for a confusing mess, somehow works. Paranoid, desperate, intense, and melancholic, Beyond Virtue, Beyond Vice certainly stands up to Vaux's other efforts -- now let's just see if it can make an equally strong translation to the live setting.

STREAM
Are You with Me
Cocaine James
Need to Get By
Never Better
Don't Wait

 

 
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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
givemeamuseumandillfillit (August 5, 2006)

It's pronounced "Vox".

Anonymous (August 3, 2006)

I hate the days when all the reviews posted are for bands and albums I have never even heard of before.

treos (August 3, 2006)

i got an advanced copy of this cd, but it didnt really strike me right away, it kinda took some time to grow on me. I really like the vocals and there are some sweet riffs, identity theft is a pretty sweet song

Anonymous (August 2, 2006)

I really can't stand their slower songs, but the rest are good.

Mute98 (August 2, 2006)

theyre not my thing but i do respect them

Razor_Crusade (August 2, 2006)

Great fucking album. Glad it finally saw the light of day.

Anonymous (August 2, 2006)

I wonder if Avail witll get a kickback for the ripped off artwork?

tristan (August 2, 2006)

great dudes, great musicians, great record.

and it's pronounced "vawks."

fighttolive (August 1, 2006)

This album is fucking amazing, I downloaded it probably a year ago or so, and it still gets play in my CD player! Awesome live band, but even the recorded work doesn't dissapoint!

mattp330 (August 1, 2006)

for all the spellings you threw out, you pronounce it "vaucks" rhymes with rocks

Anonymous (August 1, 2006)

man this band and album sucks.

Seriously, bad.

Anonymous (August 1, 2006)

don't let a scatterbrained review fool you.

this album rules. this band rules.

if you listen to one song or more, you're going to want the whole thing. catchiest cd of this year or last.

Anonymous (August 1, 2006)

How do you pronounce their name? Vo? Vaw? Vaucks?

Anonymous (August 1, 2006)

This review is pretty good, but here's what I would add to make it better:

1) do they have a live album? where can i get it?

2) is this band French?

3) what does vice mean?

Anonymous (August 1, 2006)

People listen to this band?

jamespastepunk (August 1, 2006)

These songs are great live. Cocaine James especially.

Anonymous (August 1, 2006)

i bought this on half.com for 4 bucks almost a year ago. i still listen to it all the time. saw them at sxsw this year too...they were great.
-TOBB

leifkills (August 1, 2006)

Thisi album is still great.

Year old or not.

Anonymous (August 1, 2006)

This album is a year old.

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