Review: The Vincent Black Shadow, Fear’s in the Water
The Vincent Black Shadow is a motorcycle that was hand made in the late 1940’s and 1950’s. About 1,800 were built and they are highly prized among collectors of vintage bikes. Two bands have taken the name, one from Baltimore and one from Vancouver. This is the one from Vancouver. It’s composed of three Kirkham brothers, Robbie (guitars), Chris (bass) and Tony (drums) with Cassandra Ford doing vocals. Mary Archeta guests on keyboards on many tracks ans she may have joined the band since “Fear’s in the Water” came out.
TVBS plays in the space between alt rock and alt pop. Some of their arrangements and costumes lead you to think they like to think of themselves as being a lot harder than they are. Based on their album photos and Myspace page they like to dress up in black and try to look dangerous. Mostly they just look silly in the way that young people trying to project attitude they really don’t know very much about can look silly. Although the music industry puts a lot of effort into marketing image and quite a few bands seem to be more about image than anything else, the bottom line with music is how it sounds. Which is a good thing for TVBS because they sound good.
The band is solid and Robbie Kirkham is an able songwriter and (along with his brothers) arranger. Ford has a tendency to sound like Madonna but she sings well with a strong and commanding delivery. Most importantly, her voice fits almost perfectly into Kirkham’s arrangements. Music and vocals mutually support each other very well on “Fear’s in the Water.” It wouldn’t be hard to imagine music industry suits telling Ford she should ditch the band for a solo career (under their management of course). She shouldn’t listen; this is a band where voice and music each make the other better. Album opener “Metro” is an uptempo kick of a tune with a driving rhythm section and a vocal hook that instantly grabs hold. Great choice to open the album. A significant proportion of the rest of the album tends toward alt pop with heavy guitars. Some of it is very good, some of it is pretty ordinary, none of it is ground breaking but none of it is bad either. All in all, a good debut album that is worthwhile in its own right and shows promise of better things to come if they grow and put their effort into the music rather than the image.
Music from this CD can be heard on Tuned In To Music Podcast 014 – The Girls in the Band
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