Music Reviews

Vessels Helioscope

(Cuckundoo Records) Buy it from Insound Rating - 7/10

My dad once said to me, “There are two types of people in this world, those who like jazz and those who love it.” Initially bewildered, since I knew a handful of people that absolutely hated it, I eventually understood that my father was one of those people who appreciated the architecture of music and couldn’t fathom people who didn’t. Obviously Vessels would never be placed in a jazz category, but the band’s post-rock instrumental structure is comparable to jazz simply because you can’t exactly predict where it’s going, and some people have a hard time warming up to that concept. Thankfully, I’m not one of those people.

There’s a sense of serendipity in the lack of direction on Helioscope, especially in the openers Monoform and The Trap, both mainly instrumental pieces with brazen percussion. They did an exceptional job organizing the tracklist because after Recur, you crave more vocals and you’re granted the Thom Yorke-esque work of Stuart Warwick in Meatman, Piano Tuner, Prostitute. This song layers a slower celestial melody over a fast and hard rhythm, causing you to check if your iPod accidentally shuffled to Radiohead. Art/Choke is the track that makes you want to see them live. Picturing Tim Mitchell flailing away on the drums like Animal from The Muppets will spark your I-gotta-get-to-a-show itch. It’s the dark side of Vessels that you never knew you always wanted.

My gripes with Helioscope are the classic cases of “not enough” and “too much”. Now that I know they’re capable of tracks like Art/Choke, I would like more, please. It wouldn’t be terrible to hear more vocals either, even though that element isn’t necessarily part of their indigenous roots. A few, such as Later Than You Think and All Our Ends, carry on a bit too long. Even if you’ve learned to appreciate the methodology of music, or lack there of, there are moments when too much misdirection can make you feel lost instead of dazzled. Nonetheless, this quintet from Leeds deserves at least one very enthusiastic thumb up for this compilation.