What can I say about Chicago natives Vamos? Well, they’re really fucking good; like, reeeaaaally good. They come at you fast and dirty with a brand of surf-punk that sounds like an amalgamation of the best parts of The Bronx and The Black Lips. They dropped their newest album, 123 on March 16th. It’s fourteen songs long and clocks in a tad shy of thirty-five minutes. That’s a lotta bang for your buck.
The first thing that sticks out to me is the band’s ability to write a well-rounded, well-crafted song. There are many songs strewn about with a good hook: “Outside” and “Bathroom 54″ are two examples, but their ability goes further than that. They’re able to juxtapose some downright weird shit amongst the gold, which ultimately makes the golden parts flash that much brighter and hotter. Case in point is the diminished fuckery in “Boring.” These riffs would sound out of place if they weren’t intertwined throughout as well as they are.
As far as tonality, well, at times, it’s weird too. But it fits! The guitar sounds emanating from Ryan Murphy are saturated with reverb and good times. They’re also rocking one of the better tube distortions east of the Rockies. And oh gosh, have I mentioned the sustain they bring? Keeping with the previous paragraph’s point, they’ve got a pretty good feel for the obscure solo. It’s never a shredder, but Murphy puts a lot of feel behind some odd combinations that, once again, shouldn’t sound right, yet do.
How about them vocals too? Very bratty and a solid attack; however, the melodies are vastly complemented by accompanying back-ups from bassist and drummer Will Wood and Josh Lambert respectively. From crooning on some “oohs” and “ahhs” to flat out carrying their own melody a few steps below the lead of Murphy, it’s a cacophony of excellence and elegance. Every part of this band fills in and compliments the rest. This is truly an album where it’s greatness relies on the sum of its parts.
For the rhythm section, I absolutely adore how Lamberts spends a solid amount of time flailing away on the open hi-hat. It adds a sloppy attack that’s hard-pressed to be found in today’s music. For a key-note example, look no further than the scorcher “Mental Help.”
The only reason this band doesn’t get the full on 10 outta 10 treatment is because I’m not a super fan of the 1, 2, and 3 interludes that pepper the album. Such is life. I’m still gonna be very adamant that you scope this record out. You’re gonna love it, I swear. Actually, I’m gonna go even farther than that. I guArantee that you’ll love it, no matter where your musical tastes lie. Think I’m bullshitting? Give it a listen here and get at me in the comments below. They’re always welcome.
Written by Aaron Deck
* edited by Mike Milito