Top positive review
7 people found this helpful
A powerful, complex array of emotions and angst.
on 16 February 2004
Anyone who bought this album to compliment Vertical Horizon's earlier works must have had quite a shock when they pressed play and found themselves gasping for air as the room was flooded with electric guitars and a driving drum beat. The gentle, folksy sound was gone. The vocal harmonies, emotional heartfelt lyrics and skilful playing, however, were still in abundance.
Matt Scannell's voice is the perfect instrument to communicate the meaning and emotion his songs possess. He sounds like Michael Stipe might sound if he had ever had a voice coach. Vertical Horizon is like REM after a month down the gym; just as clever, just as cynical, but with more muscle!
There is a power behind all of the songs and on the whole the album is an uplifting experience, which is a little odd considering all the bitterness and angst conveyed. But there is this easy familiarity in the emotion that is like listening to your best mate telling you their troubles; you know they are okay deep-down because they can still feel.
Highlights of the album for me are the anthemic "You're a God", the head-shaking "Send it Up" and "Finding Me" with its immediate hook, wonderful self-deprecating lyrics and beautiful groove (can an English boy get away with saying that?!) Just try listening to it without nodding your head or tapping you fingers - you can't do it; it's the musical equivalent of eating a doughnut without licking your lips!
"Everything You Want" is another wonderfully bitter, almost tainted antithesis to a love song. You sense the occasional spray of spit as the storyteller becomes more frustrated, perhaps even angry, and you can feel your head spinning in the angst and confusion. The last song on the album, "Shackled", is a perfect merger of where Vertical Horizon came from and where they clearly intend to go.
Verdict: a must-have album - just see how often you press the 'play' button after listening to it, instead of the 'eject' button.