Vaniish - “Memory Work”

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Vaniish

Vaniish - “Memory Work”

  • 3/5

Reviewed by Jen Dan Jan 4, 2015

Keven Tecon and Amy Rosenoff have risen from the ashes of their former synth-rock band Veil Veil Vanish to record anew as Vaniish.

Keven Tecon and Amy Rosenoff have risen from the ashes of their former band Veil Veil Vanish to record anew as Vaniish.  Keven and Amy recruited Adam Beck and Nick Ott into the band and recently released their debut album “Memory Work” on Metropolis Records.   Although Veil Veil Vanish is no more, Vaniish continues to mine the same post-punk/darkwave vein as its predecessor.  The atmospheric blend of gloomy pop and synth-rock featured on “Memory Work” makes for an uneasy, restless, and sometimes too lugubrious listen. 

Keven and Amy paint from a monochromatic sonic palette of manic depressive tempos and similar instrumentation that alternately clashes with or cocoons Keven’s coolly mourning, half-buried vocal tones.  The more memorable songs are the ones that dig in with catchier hooks and emotional vulnerability, like the rapid clack of the title track, which is ribboned with Keven’s supple, aching vocals, and the warped, unwinding spiral of “Kaleidoscoped” with its passionate refrain of “I’m alive.”

There’s cold comfort to be found on the run of songs placed in the middle of the album.  It starts with the chilly and regimented “Fragment/Fatigue” and its pronounced marching beat, funereal organ notes, and a ticking clock which mix with Keven’s weary, echoed vocals.  Then the crash and dash of “Search and Replace” rattles with an emphatic drum-based tempo while Keven’s dolorous tones float over fast-picked guitar and darting noises.  “Observatory Time” is the stuff of disconcerting dreams as it gets swamped with circling-down-the-drain noise and an extremely echoed, drawn out vocal delivery.

The band glides and slides winningly through the up-tempo “Merge” as the ghost of Robert Smith hovers over the proceedings.  Keven kicks it downbeat a notch, exclaiming about being cast out and “lashing out” against a bright build-up of guitar frisson.  Delightful album-ender “La Foi au Fil de L’Eau” is a refreshing escape from all the despondent and distant melancholy.  The Sigur Ros-sounding one-off has Keven softly singing in French (“Je suis libre” is the main discernible phrase.) amid a hymn-like ambience of sustained organ notes.

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