Vex Red Start with a Strong and Persistent Desire
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Track List:
1. The Closest - 4:50
2. Dermo - 3:35
3. Can't Smile - 4:51
4. Untitled - 5:20
5. Itch - 3:49
6. Bully Me - 4:55
7. Cause and Solution - 4:29
8. Start with a Strong and Persistent Desire - 3:54
9. Clone Jesus - 4:38
10. Sleep Does Nothing for You - 3:57
11. Vert - 6:59
12. Fast Cars - 4:51

Overview: Vex Red is a band that has been existing in, as near as I can tell, near obscurity on the British rock scene for years now. They've done the requisite EPs and singles with B-sides. They've done radio shows, compilations, and such. They've been on the verge of being the next big thing for years, and yet have just not broken through. They signed with Ross Robinson and his Virgin records label "I Am" (the man producing Slipknot, Korn, At the Drive In, and others), they've done an American tour. My opinion: Vex Red is one of rock's most poorly kept secrets. So here I am to help them on their way and hopefully help you find a great band.

Toss rock, alternative, metal, electronica, and industrial in a blender and you'll get Vex Red. The sound is generally rock but with elements of all these, not afraid to use samples, guitar squelch, or just break out and thrash. And yet the singing and lyrics soulfully ground the feel of the band into a heartfelt and passionate experience. Vocalist/Guitarist Terry Abbot doesn't generally break new ground with song topics, singing mostly about relationships, not fitting in, rebelling and the like; but he does it with earnestness and passion, his voice rasping and crooning as it seems to plaintively stretch up to the heavens and ask 'why'? Not that he's singing about starving Ethiopians or anything quite so dramatic, but we've all been there, and for those of us who need to alternatively dwell or vent about the state of society and our lamentable place in it, this album offers up a catharsis that's pure and wholly enjoyable. Not necessarily everyone's cup of tea, but a great mix of poetic, experimental art and head-banging, body-rocking rhythms for those who can dig it.

Standout Tracks: Not a stinker on the album, I love every track. But without a doubt, Can't Smile is my favorite. It's simple and a bit trite perhaps with a lengthy vocal sample in the middle and a long chorus out, but damn if it doesn't have a great groove and catchy vocals. It starts out with some ambient bass and blistering guitars, and then settles into a fast-paced rhythm that Abbot stretches his reedy, warbling voice over until it fully rocks out at the end. Untitled starts slowly and peacefully, with Abbot wailing/crooning the same lament over and over, each time slightly different but with equal passion. As the song progresses, it becomes a showcase for guitar work, moving from experimental sounds to a full on metal riff towards the end, allowing the listener to sing along with the familiar lyrics as the song carries him away. Cause and Solution sounds like a missing instrumental from Nine Inch Nails' double cd The Fragile, (and that's meant as no slight to either band). Sleep Does Nothing for You is nearly a straight hard rock song, with some synths and DJ work thrown in. Abbot's singing resemblance to Daniel Johnston of Silverchair is uncanny here, and this song overall sounds very similar to that band. Vert is a long building epic in the tradition of Tool; mostly silent except for Abbot's voice in the first half of the song, and exploding with guitar in the latter half.

*A final note, my CD is a copy a friend made, and I'm not sure that Fast Cars is on the store album, as it's not listed as such on the websites I visited. If not, it's definitely worth tracking down the single for.

- - Jeff Light

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