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Thursday, March 29, 2012

Album Review: Vile Red Falcons - "Under Your Skin"

To start with, Vile Red Falcons have one of the coolest names for a rock band I’ve come across in a long time. It fits the ultra macho world of rock n’ roll to a tee. With such a cool name, the band has the onus of matching it with the music they produce. After listening to “Under Your Skin” a dozen times it is apparent to me that they have delivered the goods in spades, with a collection of songs that not only match their cool and tough moniker, but rightfully allows them to take their place alongside the very best of rock from any age, any era.

Vile Red Falcons come from the Northwest, hailing from Tacoma, Washington, where they have have been plying their wares since 2008, along the way becoming local legends with their high energy shows that deliver a superior quality brand of stoner rock to residents of an area that have been recipients of some of the very best cutting edge rock over the past 20 plus years, residents that know great rock when they hear it, and knowing they are hearing it with these base cardinal raptors.

After developing as a band by cranking the voltage in venues across Northwest Washington, and quickly selling out their initial EP in 2009, they again entered the studio in 2011 to compile the excellent “Under Your Skin”, releasing it in early 2012.

The rock on “Under Your Skin” is highly derivative of so much music that has come before it that it will all seem somewhat familiar while at the same time be as fresh and exciting as only new album can be. They play music on the heavier side, while not being overwhelming, with songs that can trace their roots all the way back to the blues and influences of early masters of electric rock, while matching the tremendous sounds of any stoner rock music from the high desert or fuzz from across the globe, allowing for great fun and enjoyable listening to songs that pull you in and envelope you in a tremendous sound of thrashing, melodic guitars, hard driving rhythm, and soulful, adept vocals, all wrapped within wonderful riffs, hooks, melodies, and intelligent, fun lyrics.

The members of Vile Red Falcons include

- John Beidel - Vocals, Guitar
- Nate Rich - Guitar
- James Bench - Bass
- Kevin Kildun - Drums

The album opens with "Touch", which immediately displays a gifted tendency toward well structured melodies interlaced with catchy, dexterous guitar riffs of grit and style by both John and Nate, John’s strong vocals and an ever present, foot stomping beat from James’ tremendous bass and Kevin’s powerful drums, all leading into a fast, frenetic final guitar solo that gives way to a culmination of increased and insistent energy from the group as a whole.

“Lazy Day” aptly starts out with a slower tempo, and a steady, measured pace that seems to highlight the wonderful dual guitar riffs interspersed throughout the song as well as a full, rich, melodic vocal once again that accentuates the bluesy feel of the track.

The pace picks up with the next tune, “Like a Drug”, displaying an up tempo beat, a quick solo interlude to introduce the insistent nature of the song, and a terrific, pacey melody throughout that increases in urgency through the chorus and into lengthier, more involved guitar solos, leading into a high energy crescendo. This is a great rock tune that is fun to listen to, especially when cranked up and blaring full force throughout your skull.

The tempo seems to slow down again for “Brag”, but it’s a ruse for another upbeat number that highlights some superb guitar work utilizing a fuzzed out riff that works in conjunction with the insistent power of the high energy drums and power rhythm bass, setting the tone for a super fun, unique, quality rock song.

“Devel Send” is the first of two power ballads, along with “Bugs”, that both display the best traits of such songs, with tunes that are easy to listen to or to sing to, depending on your wont and familiarity, guitars that are fuzzed and wonderful, slow and clear, and reminiscent of every great power ballad ever played, without any fluff or pop to take away from the crisp, clear, moanful vocals deftly belting out lyrics of loss and desire.

“Buried” is a foot stomping, all out assault with the high quality guitars of both John and Nate, both of whom have displayed throughout the album that they are capable of delivering the goods, as is John with his muscular and deft vocals, all kept in tempo with Kevin’s clear and powerful drums, and James’ deep, booming bass guitar. “Someday” follows suit with the same type of display, but with a new, fresh tune of unique structure and familiar tendencies. The guitars are loud and distorted, never drowning out the rhythm section, and only lending to the quality of the songs as a whole.

“Shutup” sounds like something you’ve heard before, yet you know you haven’t. It’s a great example of the power and comfort of this super fuzzy group of hard rockers.

The blues are revisited on the closer, “Double Fault”, with guitars that sound clear and soulful, and where John perhaps delivers his best vocal rendition, singing with heart and soul, accentuating the distorted deep blues of his own strings as well as those of compatriot Nate.

This is a great album, filled with tremendous stoner rock songs of quality and excitement, never over-stepping in ability but always displaying gifted and honest renditions of their original writings, thoughtful melodies, soulful riffs, and memorable hooks. With luck and the well displayed ability of “Under Your Skin”, Vile Red Falcons should stake a claim as a rock band to be reckoned with, and one in which you’ll be pleased to listen to time and again.


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