I haven’t yet pulled this site into the realm of album reviews because a thousand people can do it better than I can and frankly, I just don’t have the time. Today is different.
In the interest of full disclosure, I was contacted by the record label that represents Vega4 to listen to their music, post an MP3 and even offer tickets for their upcoming show in San Diego. Without even listening to the band, I was on board because they are opening for Augustana. They're a four piece out of London but consisting of two Irishmen, a Canadian, and a Kiwi. Their album is called "You and Others" and their album is available on iTunes or on the disc released by Columbia in the UK.
Stop reading if you are instantly put off by a band for being played on Grey’s Anatomy.
If you’re still reading then I want to talk about my experience with Vega4 thus far. I received the MP3 last week and realized I’d not posted it yet. The song is called “Life Is Beautiful” and has been featured on Grey’s Anatomy. The first time I played it, it was background music for me. Then I played it again. And again. And again. Each time I heard more in the song I liked about it and wondered how I would explain it. Intially I thought it sounded like a sweet lullaby, the opening vocals accompanied by guitar and what sounds like a Fisher Price rainbow xylophone that is standard in any daycare. Then the song climbs and rises to a place where you might think this song belongs on Snow Patrol’s Final Straw. A good thing if you’re like me and were crushed from the first time you heard that album. I found myself feeling the same hopeful kinda longing with this song that I felt with Aqualung’s “Brighter Than Sunshine” or when I first heard “Yellow” by Coldplay.
Then the song did something completely unexpected. At 4 minutes and 38 seconds into the song (yeah, not a little 2 minute jobber), a whole chorus of voices come into the song, much like “Make This Go On Forever” does on the latest Snow Patrol album, but it also reminded me of James’ “Sit Down” recorded live with an entire arena singing along. The song is cathartic in an everything is gonna be ok kinda way.
When I got home, I was happy to find the whole album in my mailbox. It is very easy to lump Vega4 in with the bands I’ve already mentioned, and either you like those bands and want as many bands producing a similar sound to do so, or you want them all to go away. I love Keane, Starsailor, Aqualung, Snow Patrol and their ilk, which is why they’re so often referenced on my blog. That is not to say they are all the same, each has their own qualities that I appreciate, but there is some commonality among them. Vega4 even reminded me of a band called Blameless that I only know from a 5 song ep I have from 1996.
The rest of the album is full of Grey’s Anatomy worthy music; songs about love and relationships and trying to work out being a grown up with grown up problems and adult relationships. Basically about the angst you felt at 13 that was supposed to go away but was still there at 22, and is still there now. “Let Go” particularly jumped out at me unexpectedly. I wasn’t even paying attention really, and then I hear the lyric. “I’ve confused our connection for love.” Totally simple, and singled out, probably totally cheesy. But god, ain’t it the truth? More than a handful of sour memories from my own life come flooding to my mind as I hear it repeating in my head and repeating in the chorus and I feel angst. Like a 13 year old all over again. Or a 22 year old. Or the 30 year old that I am.
I cannot wait to see this band open for Augustana in April. If the ticket giveaway works out, I will post all the info you need. Until then, enjoy the MP3 of “Life Is Beautiful”.
yousendit: "Life Is Beautiful" Vega4