The word “vestige” means a trace of something which is disappearing or no longer exists. Highly appropriately, the duo of Lewis Brown and Paul Matthews, who have emerged from the now defunct Portsmouth band, The Rivers Of Sound, have created an album which seems to pine nostalgically for the late 1990’s. Happily, they recall this time by referencing many of the best bands of the era too.
After a long but interesting introduction of glum guitars on ‘Innocence (Your Best Disguise)’, the vocals announce themselves and recall the bruised delivery of Richard Ashcroft. It’s a short but confident example of what is to come. ‘Eye To The Sky’ begins rather uneventfully but the song soars on the impressive chorus and suddenly the duo sound as anthemic as Puressence. Likewise, ‘Misery/Joy’ could easily be a James track, or the shuffling indie ‘Faded Memory’ could have been written by Echo And The Bunnymen circa 1987. All very retro of course, but it’s performed with period-level panache.
Quality control is maintained as the album progresses. ‘Falling’ builds up convincing walls of tension, the propulsive, chiming guitar pop of ‘Wired’ is another highlight and even the lighter material, such as the lilting ‘Lost Property’ and ‘What To Say?’, are gently infectious. Only towards the end of the album do the group slip into cliché, courtesy of a stomping ‘London’ and you can certainly visualise cigarette lighters being held aloft for last track ‘Live, Love And Shine On Me’.
Putting aside the fact that this music could be a lost album from the latter days of Britpop, Brown and Matthews have created a high quality indie rock album, which emulates the sound of an arena act on a tight budget. The indie youth of today could do a lot worse than investing their time in Vestige.
Puressence, The Reverse, Echo And The Bunnymen