Sunday, July 16, 2017

EP Review: Vista - Long Live

Ok, stop me if you've heard this one before; Vista is a female-fronted alternative rock band....  I know, I know, there have been a lot of similar bands I have covered here, but for good reason. In the last few years, by whatever happenstance, we have seen a surge in the number of not just bands like this, but good bands like this. As modern rock continues to trudge into the doldrums of Five Finger Death Punch knockoffs, the alternative scene's focus on better aspects has made it a respite for people like me. After many bands fronted by great women lately, we now get to take a look at Vista's new EP, to see if they continue the parade.

We start off with "Allegiance", which is an unexpected little number. After the first verse, we get bursts of orchestration to punctuate the song, which goes a long way to making it feel more epic within the limits of three minutes. It showcases the band's best qualities, while being brisk enough to avoid any slack in the writing. Hope delivers a solid vocal and a solid chorus, making the song a winner.

"Inside Anxious" is a very modern song, and one that will probably divide listeners. The core of the song is again very good, with nice energy and a strong hook, but then there are a few places where the band dives into electronics and stutters and distorts the vocal for effect. Those moments, at least for me, are incredibly distracting, take away from the good songwriting they were establishing, and plain don't sound very good. But then again, I'm probably a touch too old to be the target audience for that approach.

I'm quite fond of "Hellbent". It's a bouncy number that fits very well as a kiss-off song. This is one of the cases where the expletives are well utilized, and push the impact of the words, rather than just being thrown in to sound tough or mean. It's nice to see a young band understand the difference, and fall on the right side of the ledger.

If Vista is looking for a single that could garner them attention and build their name, they can't do any better than "Dominance 2.0". Not only is it the heaviest song in terms of the guitars that run through the verses, but the hook is the most immediately catchy on the EP. There's a hint of AFI that I hear in it, which reinforces the melody as a real winner. It's a really great song. "Part III" is only a minute long, but by stripping things back it showcases how good Hope's voice is. We then finish with "Henchmen", which is another jaunty song that has enough pep to make the hook pop.

There have been a lot of bands releasing music in this style recently, and Vista can be added to the list who are doing it well. When I first became aquainted with them through Twitter, I heard promise but wasn't truly enamored with their "Versus" EP. With "Long Live", Vista has taken the step forward I was hoping for, and they've made a very nice EP that sets them up for even bigger things in the future. Well done.

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