Top critical review
Less than the sum of the parts
on 3 April 2015
A name I saw on marquees about 15 years ago. Always in the press. On support slots. Always somewhere near the top of the Second Division of Indie, but never quite able to breakout to the First Division. Never quite able to make the leap to being a commercially viable act, with sufficient momentum to make a long term life out of this crazy music dream.
I always thought with a name like My Vitriol they'd sound heavier. I always thought it would be vitriolic. With a heady mix of influences, each easily noticable, there's a sense of being less than the sum of the parts : but it's by no stretch not a good record.
However, my notepad seems judgemental. Here's what it says. “Stone Roses. Mansun. Longpigs. Jane's Addiction. Foo Fighters. AC/DC. Therapy. Nine Inch Nails. Hope Of The States. Ramones. Smiths. “
These are not bad things, by the way. As list of influences go, it's a strong set. Where the album perhaps, falls short, is on to counts : a 15 song album can be a good thing – but 15 songs can also be too long. I call it the Tori Amos effect, where the sense that perhaps the bands have more material on the album than they do songs. I can't really tell you where my attention waned as such, but somewhere near the end, as – amongst other things – there was no sense of narrative to the album, and each song felt to be another connected instalment instead of leading towards some kind of conclusion. Additionally, the vocals sound like another band grafted over the top of the music : they're light and airy, with no rough edges, and that doesn't seem to fit the music as such. It's almost cruel to say the vocals sound like a backing singer promoted to lead, but that's how it feels.
“Fine Lines” is no bad record – I particularly like “C.O.R” and the shifting, collapsing tempos of “Tongue Tied”, and there are several promising elements – tightly structured, monolithic rhythm guitars, buzzsaw riff, and some late-period Marresque arpeggios, but it's less than the sum of its parts : Given that the sum of the parts would make them the most amazing band in the universe is that a surpise? Probably not. My Vitriol were – or is it are? - a band that could with time, have grown into something worth adoring, but sadly, seemed thwarted in their early life. Look at what you could have won.