A Town and Two Cities
First Appeared in The Music Box, July 2008, Volume 15, #7
Written by David Gregory Schlegel
Mon July 28, 2008, 06:30 AM CDT
Guitars crash into a vibrant soundscape to create what can only be described as a lush or epic style of music on A Town and Two Cities, the debut album from Your Vegas. The effort is an extremely impressive opening act in what obviously is a young career. It also proves, once again, that artists from England can write better music than their American counterparts.
According to the university-oriented television program Music and Interview Affairs, the members of Your Vegas hate having to explain why they are named after Vegas when they actually grew up in the small town of Otley, which is located outside of Leeds. Nirvana, U2, Coldplay, Depeche Mode, and The Killers typically are cited as major influences on the band. Nevertheless, throughout A Town and Two Cities, the sounds of Coldplay and The Killers are what play the most dominate role in its music.
Your Vegas wastes no time grabbing the attention of prospective fans. Anyone who has felt the pain of moving away from loved ones will find it easy to relate to opening track It Makes My Heart Break. In My Head begins with a smooth, rippling guitar accompaniment that seems to echo in the distance before it makes a drastic switch to evoke U2’s old, new wave style, and shades of Smashing Pumpkins unexpectedly pump up the attitude of Birds of Paradise.
Troubled Times brings forth its empathetic lyrics about being heartbroken after a failed relationship. Unlike much of the whiny, ex-girlfriend music that has been emanating from the industry of late, the regretful tone of Your Vegas’ performance feels genuine and authentic rather than like simple, chronic complaining. Countering the personal politics of Troubled Times is the globally minded protest tune The Way the War Was Won. Although it could have been cut straight out of Coldplay’s A Sudden Rush of Blood to the Head, it is still a solid song.
Aurora, however, has the distinction of being the strongest track on A Town and Two Cities. While large portions of the effort make it easy for cynics to label Your Vegas as a rip-off of Coldplay, the outfit uses Aurora to take an unique approach that blends U2’s style with a sound that is similar to J-Rock. The result is refreshing and utterly different from a majority of the songs currently on the market. Even if a listener is not a fan of U2 and Coldplay, this tune alone makes the album worth investigating. Or, for those on a tight budget, can you say: "iTunes music please?"
In truth, A Town and Two Cities has very little about which anyone can complain. Although some tracks admittedly are stronger than others, there truly are no bad songs on the album. Everything sounds clean, professional, and highly stylized. In particular, the use of the synthesizer by Mark Heaton is impressive, especially considering that many bands falter in blending the instrument into rock, so much so that the end result frequently winds up sounding unnecessary or out of place.
The biggest hurdle for Your Vegas will be to fine-tune its unique voice so that it can distinguish itself from the countless bands that are modeled after Coldplay and U2, without also losing sight of its influences. Keep an eye on Your Vegas, though, because the group is going straight to the top.
Of Further Interest...
A Town and Two Cities is available
from Barnes & Noble. To order, Click Here!
1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!
Copyright © 2008 The Music Box