Clay: I am sure it is getting redundant at this point, but seriously: what is in the water in San Francisco? It seems like every time we turn around, we are getting tapped on the shoulder by another band with a rocking album. Part of that probably has to do with each time we review one of these bands we end up loving, another bay area band sends us their album – call it an awesome spiral – but it seems like that part of the country is batting 1.000 right now.
The latest comes from the rock ‘n’ roll outfit Vandella and their 4th release Shine You Up, and frankly, all I can say at this point is I am blown away by their soulful 70’s sound and Tracey Holland’s vocals.
Greg: I will avoid diving into what they may or may not be partaking in around San Francisco, water or otherwise, it certainly is an epicenter for today’s music whether you admit it or not.
But as you mentioned, Shine You Up is a fantastic rolling, foot-stomping, four tracks that has me wondering what it is about Californians gravitating toward a Southern Rock sound and why they do it better than most. One side note though, I can’t see this foursome being sued for plagiarizing themselves; no matter how much “Foolish” may remind me of a certain other melody that shall not be named.
Impressively, I waited (and waited) for something to break the smooth, silky delivery of Vandella’s sound and it never came. Their vocal and instrumental delivery is devastatingly good.
Clay: Maybe I’ve just been spoiled with the sample data I’ve collected, but I don’t think it is too hard to mess up Americana; there’s just too many places that a band can hide flaws behind a couple classical riffs or catchy choruses. But this is an EP of a band that is coming into their own. They are not waiting on the world to change, but are marching forward with their brand of what rock should be. Chris Tye and Tracey Holland feed off of each other musically whether they are trading vocals in “Easy” or rollicking guitar riffs against punching lyrics in “Gold.” Plus the rhythm section of Fritz Mueller on bass and Dan Miller-Schroeder on drums are no musical slouches either, creating the architecture of jazz, blues, and good old-fashioned classic rock.
Greg: The guitar/vocals in “Gold,” need to be highlighted here. The sheer capacity of unadulterated rock that this single track bestows is so powerful that I had listened to it at least ten times before I ever even moved on to the remaining three songs.
Holland’s voice is absolutely intoxicating. Her range is only rivaled by her tenacity and booming presence. Her abilities most likely made the engineer’s job a whole lot easier. As a matter of fact, I’m trying to find a flaw; I’ll get back to you on that one.
Tye takes a pick, strikes a lick and smiles smugly as he watches your jaw drop to the floor. But almost most importantly and most impressively is, like you said, the rhythm section of Mueller and Miller-Schroeder. These two keep the band tight and pulse pounding throughout it all. It is a rambunctious back-woods party centered around them and everyone is invited. Long and short, this is a barn-burning group of four that should stick together for a very long time; if only because I can’t stand to think we would not get more of Vandella.