Sunday, 3 February 2013

Discovery: Vice Versa - Rehearsal Tapes

Vice Versa are a psychedelic rock four piece from Moscow, Russia. Their only release to date is this four-track compilation of studio jams and experiments put together as Rehearsal Tapes. It’s interesting to note the professional quality that has gone into these recordings along with the lo-di aesthetics of it being s home recording and fitting to the genre. One thing's for sure, for a debut demo compilation, this sure is commendable.

This is exactly the kind of music that should be coming out of Russia. A country with such historic prowess and power should not be prejudiced by what is quite simply a Green Day tribute band that happens to be in jail for committing hooliganism in a state cathedral. All the pain and suffering and 80's cold war visions of Russia come flooding back in dull images while listening to such volatile and orgasmic sounds. There’s imagery, then there's ingenuity. Vice Versa are Muscovite's with an ear for melody and an ear for great musical influence. I'm thoroughly impressed with what they regard to be rehearsal recordings.

Rehearsal Tapes goes from strength to strength with its lengthy compositions and off-guard progressions. It start off with the loud and abrasive effects of "Night Ride" before catching out the listener on countless listens with the 10 minute magnanimous "Stranger". On both tracks, lead and rhythm guitar take over with fierce energy and grit. "I'm Going Away" sounds like it belongs in the 60s. I see a dark stage with just a few fans in the audience, preparing for a sell-out slot, with this of course being the rehearsal. You can hear the reverberation on the drums, used to extend the dimensions of Vice Versa's sound.

Standing out from the lot is fourth and final track "Blackout". It opens with the plugging in of electric guitars and furious drumming which never really quietens down. This is Vice Versa delivering what is essentially a punk track hidden in psychedelic rock effects and funky bass. It's beautifully shrouded in noise and distortion; they wouldn't have it any other way. It brings a louder, messier and challenging sound to the table. It's not avant-garde, but it's certainly different to what you would expect from Hendrix fanatics. 

Vice Versa are taking on a genre that's distanced itself from noise, lo-fi and experimentation. Just like shoegazing's little brother, nu-gaze; it's incredibly hard to 'make it' or achieve anything. The post-punk revival bands have died, the indie folk bands are gimmicky and every indie band under the sun seems to have to include a synthesizer. The modern psychedelic rock is essentially neo-psychedelia, a very successful and lucrative range of artists under this umbrella term. Vice Versa are grounded in the roots of psychedelic rock, which may come back to haunt them. Just like Allah-Lah's and The Peoples Temple are grounded in their respectable genres of surf rock and garage rock. The 60s sounds are long gone, but they're still welcome. This four track compilation shows a blend of psychedelic rock and noise rock. It's psychedelic rock right back to the grass roots, which has to be merited.


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