Album Review by Mark Bayross
Track seven of this record is a snarling 30 second slab of noise called C.O.R. [Critic-Orientated Rock]. I’m not sure whether, as one of that particular target group, I’m supposed to feel uncomfortable, but My Vitriol hardly need to start sniping at the music press – they have won nothing but praise since they emerged two years ago and this debut album made it into just about every rock magazine’s “Hotly Anticipated For 2001” section.
The four piece, all still criminally young, have certainly managed to craft a record that lives up to these high expectations. From the opening bombast of ALPHA WAVES, this album is a headlong rush of feedback-drenched hugeness – Som and Seth’s guitars soar well into the stratosphere, forming glacial walls of sound of a kind not seen since the giddy days of My Bloody Valentine.
While the guitars are highly effective at forming colossal shapes, the songs never fall into the trap of finding a groove and settling in it. Each piece twists and turns and, in the case of exhilarating live favourite “Tongue Tied”, shift in and out of the gears to stunning effect, switching back and forth from delicate Cocteau Twins-style chiming to full-on rock blast.
Contained within the album’s 16 tracks are the singles LOSING TOUCH, CEMENTED SHOES, PIECES and the recently re-released ALWAYS YOUR WAY, and they make even more sense here, painted into the larger canvas of the album as a whole.
Chris Sheldon’s (Feeder, Foo Fighters) production is clean and polished, allowing the band room to let their musical vision take shape. For the most part, Som Wardner’s voice glides along with the guitar maelstrom, but he is capable of pushing it into a gut-wrenching scream, particularly on the ferocious LOSING TOUCH, while Ravi’s drumming is inventive and never predictable, and Carolyn’s bass drives the lurching guitars forward.
Although no doubt unfashionable in these days of nu-metal and techno-rock, there is something deeply impressive about “Finelines”. Maybe it’s because the creators of this music were still in primary school when the bands it evokes were popular; maybe it’s because for a debut album, this is a mighty fine effort.
More than all of that, I think it’s because this album is alive – it has more heart and soul than most bands could ever dream of.