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Vogue Villains - A Slow Ride (At The Speed of Light) (self-released)

19 February 2024

I love songs that have intriguing titles. I love music that lulls you into a false sense of security before pulling the sonic rug from under the listener’s feet. This latest one from Vogue Villains has both.

The title, “A Slow Ride (At The Speed of Light)” should appeal to anyone who likes the idea of puns and quantum physics finally getting things on. But for me, it is the sonic switch that sells the record. (Yes, I’m old; I still call them records; deal with it.) The song kicks off in reasonably standard rock and roll territory, a killer groove that feels like the engine room of a real, foot-on-the-monitor, fist-in-the-air groover, but, as soon as they have signalled that sonic intention to the listener, they snatch such familiarity away from them.

Instead, they settle into a swampy-psychedelic-bluesy-drug-addled-lucid-dream-groove.* And it is the ability to set up a perfectly good rock and roll riff and then replace it with something beguiling and less obvious, which shows the band’s confidence. Most bands would want to get a lot more mileage out of such a riff; most would opt to build a whole new song around it, which, given the riff, would do very well. Not Vogue villains. With them expectations are things to be set up and then knocked down in one fell swoop.

And as they ebb and flow between that killer riff and their more subversive ways, you realise what a great concept it is.

1. Give the listener what they think they want.
2. Take away what they thought they wanted.
3. Drag them out of their cosy comfort zones.
4. Bombard them with the thing that the band wanted to do in the first place.
5. Delight in the fact of how easily they can be sucked in.

The more I think about what they are doing here, the more in awe I am of Vogue Villians.

*Try finding that genre in the record store racks.**
**Yes, I’m old, I still like the idea of physical records.***
***And yes, there are too many footnotes in this section of the review.****
**** I’ll stop now.