Wednesday, April 24, 2013

The Vare - Letterbox

Indie-Pop music tends to get a bad rap these days.  It's all Cage the Elephant and Arcade Fire versus Phoenix and Kings of Leon. But what happens if you introduce more of a melodic influence?  What happens if you don't rely on overly complicated guitar riffs and typical lyrics and basic musical progression?  If you have a dichotomy of what could be considered hard and soft then you have an entire new animal at your disposal.  If you do something as simple as add a piano to the mix, then the music takes on a totally different direction.  If you have harmonies and backing vocals that fill out the sound then you've created an evolution of the sound.

The Vare are a new band from Montreal consisting of Mikey Desjardins (Vocals, Guitar, Drums), Gabriel Dennis (Drums, Vocals, Piano), Jeffrey Lauber (bass, guitar) and Lucas Liberatore (guitar, bass, piano, vocals).  They've only been together for a short time but with their combined experience they have created a lush that's atmospheric and fully realized.  You can hear so many nuances almost like they just reached into so many different genres and plucked out all the best parts.  They have an incredible pianist that elevates the sound without question and I think that's one of the many aspects that sets them apart, the prevalence of the piano.  But you also can't discount the guitar riffs and the amazing work the guys have put in.  Leading it all, however is a vocalist that never once gets lost or overtaken by the melody.  He is in control and easily steers this ship.

This EP isn't unfinished.  It's not incomplete.  So many times you have albums that are dropped into this category and you listen to them and they sound like a craft project or something a hobbiest would do at home.  It's got a polish on it that seasoned producers fail to achieve.  It's laid out incredibly and each song is placed exactly where it needs to be.  That's something that always amazes me, how tracks are placed on an album.  It can either ruin the flow or it can just let you easily move from one track to another.

I think the most incredible thing they did was start with "The Way You Were" because it comes out with the piano leading the way.  It sets them apart from so many other groups because it creates a whole new tone and feel.  I came for the piano but stayed for everything else that is amazing about this group.

"Body Heat" is next and it's got a funky beat that just drives the song forward.  The percussion is incredible and it's intricate without being obnoxious.  Between it and the guitar on this track, they almost outshine the vocals but   they stay evenly matched.

The easiness of "Mistakes" makes the perfect spot in the 3rd position.  It's a Sunday afternoon with the top down kind of vibe even though the lyrics are a bit heavier than that.  Mikey does an incredible job on this track and I think it's probably on the top for me.

But from here, we don't sit too long before moving into "Coat the Clocks" which is a brilliant track that showcases so many things they do so right.  It's dreamy and it does this great thing toward the end that punctuates the song that is the epitome of the mixture of light and dark that I mentioned earlier.

Bringing the piano back into the mix with an almost syncopated rhythm on the drums, "Foreign Way" is the perfect platform for a dynamite vocal delivery.  It has this feel to it that is just kind of ambient and easy.  But Mikey's haunting delivery on this track is the star.  It just sits with you and has this resonate feel that sticks.

And that brings us to the last and title song on the EP.  "Letterbox" is this crazy awesome song that you have to close your eyes and just be present in the moment with it (I don't recommend doing that in the car).  This song gives you all the feels.  It is a gorgeous track that is the right length, it's the right production and it's the right way to end the album.  It's lonely and it's longing and it's just this sigh at the end of a deeply emotional journey.

I think that they have created an album that is an amazing foundation for an incredible career in front of them.   With everything they've put into this, I see great things for them.  Listen to the tracks on Bandcamp and Youtube and get ready for the release of this EP on May 4, 2013.

The Vare on the Web

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