New Year/New Music: The Vivid

This is the third installment of New Year/New Music. This is also a review of The Vivid’s inaugural EP Don’t Wake The Neighbors. This review that has been a long time coming, shit just got in the way. Without further ado, I give you The Vivid. Enjoy.

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Don’t Wake The Neighbors

Since I’ve been in college, I don’t remember a time that The Vivid wasn’t around. Ever since freshman year, their name and their music have been floating around in my consciousness, much like their experimental shoegaze-like drone floats over a hefty layer of alternative fuzz. I met Cory Young my first semester of college. He was pulling together a reincarnation of a band he had been a part of, and suggested I come see them. Since then, I’ve seen The Vivid play dozens of shows, anywhere from college frat bars to a commune of hippie revivalists on the UCF campus. Crafted in storage unit No. 457, Dont Wake The Neighbors is The Vivid’s first EP, featuring Cory Young (guitars, vocals), Brandon Kasper (bass, backing vocals), and Jonathon Adkins (drums). Let’s break it down!

AquaphobeDon’t Wake The Neighbors opens unapologetically with “Aquaphobe”. The track is built around a Hives-eque riff with Young’s reverbed vocals layered on top. His delivery throughout the song can be described as snarky. The influx of his tone at times like, “Is that right? Is that right?” and later, “Alright, alright, okay!” seem to mock whomever they’re directed at. Throughout the album, and especially on “Aquaphobe,” Young’s snarky vocals add personality and fullness to whatever message he’s trying to get across. After the second chorus, the song breaks down into a cavern of drums and bass, before chugging into the bridge. But, then everything goes batshit crazy. Young releases a belligerent attack of words, whilst Kasper and Adkins hold together what’s left of the song as it self-destructs into chaos.

Economy: “Economy” is a short punchy mid-tempoed clunker about our failing economic downfall and society’s pressure to “get back in line with everyone else.” The chorus bluntly points the finger accusing, “It’s on you, it’s on you, it’s on you, it’s on you!” Here, The Vivid channels the message of bands like Fugazi. They take a phrase and drive it home, creating a slogan for the oppressed. Musically though, the song doesn’t rise and fall, it remains stoic throughout. Without a definite peak, “Economy” feels half-baked when compared to the other songs on DWTN.

Zero: Don’t Wake The Neighbors’ third track is my favorite on release. The bass line is dirty. It feels like it was crafted in a sewer, cloaking the whole song in sludge. The vocals on the verse sound airy and distant, but then the chorus, the strongest on DWTN, hits and you’re pulled in close. The lyrics are both yelled and sung, creating a wave of noise, that’s so captivating. There’s a noise rock inspired guitar solo, with Young moaning either in agony or pleasure (the two are interchangeable). After the song’s faux ending, you’re left sweating in silence. But, The Vivid come back to bloody your nose one last time. The ending is even more furious live, and should be experienced by all.

The One From The Park: “The One From The Park” is the most experimental track on DWTN. It incorporates elements of shoegaze, and has an almost spoken word section dealing with isolation.  “The One From The Park” is one of those songs that leaves you feeling sad. But, the comforting kind of sad. That kind of sad that everyone has experienced, the kind of sad anyone can relate to. Young drones out, “How do I know what’s real?” A lyric that could typically be considered cliché, but here feels totally genuine. The guitar  at the song’s zenith fits the atmosphere perfectly, and then recedes back into the meek plucks that started the song off. This is The Vivid at their most Smashing Pumpkins (ironic that it comes after a song titled “Zero”).

Riser: “Riser” was previously mentioned in my Bag of Tracks from October. To quote myself, [“Riser” comes in sweet, but around the 1:00 mark the riffs kick in and there’s nowhere to hide. The chorus pumps the volume even louder, then collapses in on itself.] Being that “Riser” was one of the first songs The Vivid ever wrote and the first to be recorded for DWTN, it makes for a prolific ending. “Riser,” along with the rest of Don’t Wake The Neighbors, is The Vivid demanding you to take notice. Because they have no intention of going away any time soon.