Hearing Aide: Vaporeyes ‘Self Titled Album’

Just try not to dance when listening to this album and your body might just spontaneously combust. Groovy, tight, spacious, perpetual – all things that describe the Vaporeyes‘ third crack at a full length jam/progressive rock album. The group first joined forces in Syracuse in 2010 and has evolved into a well oiled, dance inducing machine, consisting of Jonas Niccolson on keys and vocals, Shannon Zory on bass, Sean Cadley on drums and Pat Tierney on guitar.

This time around, they’ve brought in a much fuller, spacier sound that is sure to set any dance floor ablaze. Vaporeyes said it themselves ,they are going to, “…breakout onto the jam scene,” according to their press release. Which they have done. They also say they “have put a lot of work and thought into creating an immersive and unique sound and live show.”

Every track on here is exactly what listeners would expect out of a modern jam album. Catchy hooks, floor-on-the-floor drums, spacey guitar and elaborate solos. But the thing that really separates them from other groups is their vocalist, Niccolson. His sultry pipes are a perfect fit for this new direction. It’s something that seems to escape the scope of a jam bands formula. But arguably, vocals are not the cornerstone of what makes a good jam band – hooks, builds and drops do.

Let’s look at “Quip Stash.” It checks all the instrumental boxes. We’re thrown right into it with a quirky hook featuring a very prominent, an obese synth working in junction with stupendous guitar tone, that soon combusts into a wide open space for everyone to toy around with. But we’re left in a trance and feel nothing special until Niccolson sneaks in with some lyrics that wrap through the air, breathing new life into a well executed jam song. It’s very well done but it’s not groundbreaking as the band suggests. We see a lot of similarities in “Phantom Pains” as well.  Everything is tasty, groovy and catchy but the groups attitude can easily be lumped into most aspiring jam bands. 

“Stay” releases a new variety of tones and genres, mainly consisting of blues and rock, laced with psychedelia. It’s a crisp jam with fun hooks and grooves. Once again, we get another taste of lush lyricism from Niccolson which adds unique flavor to the song, but it drops off again after the groups starts to solo. We don’t see much a build and it doesn’t leave much to the imagination in terms of what they might be like live. But, like most jam bands, they feed off the energy from a live setting which fuels creativity and the ‘in the moment jams’ they speak of in their press release. 

It is not easy to be different in a music scene that is so over saturated. If you like the formula, hooks, upbeat riffs and extensive, experimental solos, than you should check out the album and go see them in a live setting. They are seasoned musicians with tons of experience that will make for a great show. Get to know their prior work on their Bandcamp and Spotify page and keep on eye on their Facebook page for upcoming events. So far, fans can catch them and Funk N’ Waffles on July 27, the same day that their new album us released.

Key Tracks: Stay, Quip Stash, Phantom Pains.

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