The Vigilance Committee

Exit A Hero

Written by: LF on 20/08/2015 15:50:12

The progressive indie punk quartet The Vigilance Committee, hailing from Long Island, New York, is a band that takes its name from the vigilance committees of the Old American West during the mid-1800s. These committees were formed by private citizens to administer law and order where they considered governmental structures to be inadequate and from this time the concept album "Exit A Hero" follows the lives of James King of William and James P. Casey who were two of the central figures of the first of these committees in San Francisco. On this basis there's a wealth of dramatic events to write songs about and the story of the aforementioned two gentlemen did also end in disaster as James P. Casey ultimately shot and killed King after seeing a story he published in his newspaper exposing Casey's corrupt past, as the cover art depicts.

To begin with I wasn't aware of the full story of the concept in part because the lyrics are simply not always that clearly pronounced in the mix, even though the fact that it is taking part in the Old West is obvious through a couple of short diary entries that serve as interludes in the album. Luckily, to understand the concept of the record isn't a prerequisite for enjoying it as the wealth of intricate compositions is more than enough for several focused listens. The exemplary album opener "Set the Pacific On Fire" leads into the album by introducing all the elements that make up the album's good sides, mainly the clear guitar sound, the amazing flow of the often changing time signatures, the indie punk energy and not least the band's ability to bind their songs together with great, swirling melodies.

The songs are warmer and definitely less hard-hitting than the music of The Mars Volta or At The Drive-In even as there are definitely similarities to be drawn between these bands. The very best songs here are the ones that successfully combine catchy vocal melodies with an eclectic unpredictability of direction that keeps us on our toes and in this regard, songs like the upbeat "Montgomery" with its optimistic and majestic-sounding intro, and the darker "Physics of Form" with its very compelling main riffs come to mind especially. Also deserving a mention we have the recognizable piano-pattern of the almost musical-like "Reflections II" and the always-changing rhythms in the busy "Taking What's Mine".

So in conclusion, a couple of playful songs stand out here as more memorable than the slower and more straight-forward ones that make up the rest of the album. However, while The Vigilance Committee haven't put together the very best record of the year, it is still well worth your time, especially if you can appreciate an album that has many compositional details to reveal when you listen to it closely. In light of all this it's a shame to discover that the band recently parted ways with their drummer and are currently debating the future of the band itself. Here's hoping that no matter what happens, the remaining members will continue to make music in this or other constellations to refine the interesting sound they have sculpted so far.


Download: Set the Pacific On Fire, Physics of Form, Montgomery
For The Fans Of: The Mars Volta, At The Drive-In, Fall of Troy, The Dear Hunter, The Felix Culpa

Release date 25.04.2015

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