Review: Vain – Rolling With The Punches
MBM/Jackie Rainbow (May 2017)
Reviewer: Grant Foster
So here I am nursing a hangover with a strong coffee, trying to think how to put my thoughts into this album into words that make any sense.
I think many of us are familiar with the classic Vain debut album. It really has stood the test of time and established that signature Vain sound.
Now I know that Davy’s voice isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but me, well, I like a vocalist with character in his voice. Plus, being his band so to speak, he has written quite an impressive body of work.
So, onto matter in hand. ‘Rolling With The Punches’ opens the album in a typically anthemic Vain way, all mid paced and trouble spilling from the speakers. ‘Deliver The Passion’ is more up tempo with that oh so familiar guitar part that seem to be littered throughout Vain’s tunes and a killer chorus to boot.
‘Long Gone’, opens up all chuggedy chug chug, a short guitar solo and it steams into the distance like any train that runs into Paddington could only dream of. The chorus is all call and response with the backing vocals and there is a delicious longer guitar solo in there too. ‘Dark City’ – with a title like that, you’d expect all muscle, violence and gratuitous sex references, or at least I would. And it starts off all mean, moody & midpaced. But – ah yes, there had to be one – it doesn’t really go anywhere to my ears and boasts the weakest chorus so far. The part of the second chorus is a little strange, almost like, ‘what do we put in here lads?’ kind of thing.
‘Bury Some Pain’ – the song titles keep getting darker, just what I need with my throbbing noggin. And this tune almost reminds me of the Cult at times. The guitar harmonics are a little different for Vain and kind of work…..I think. But for Vain, it’s a bit second division. Don’t get me wrong, second division Vain can be good, but it’s a little trippy…….and way overlong! ‘It’s A Long Goodbye’, I think the coffee is kicking in now……Hmmmm, I’m seeing a pattern emerging here. Dark song title, song sinking into it’s own quagmire. And it does it again. True, the chorus actually saves this from being a complete turd of a number, but really, is that enough? Davey seems as if the last three songs are his mogadon phase.
Ok – keep persevering Foster. ‘Inside Out’, ah, the spaced out phase continues! Davey is apparently, ‘in his velvet room’………..remind me not to go there.
‘Don’t Let It Happen To You’ – picking up the tempo at long last and we’re back to the Vain that I like, at least. DV’s vocals are to be commended on this song. ‘Sacrifice’ lulls you into a false sense of security with a laid back into and then, Bang!, we’re off! More muscle than an American sports car on those little blue pills, this is the stuff that could have been on that debut album. Nice interplay on the verse between the guitar and vocals and a singalonga chorus.
The album finishes with ‘Show Your Love’. I’m almost out of coffee…….but this song doesn’t do it for me. Maybe it’s that cotton eye joe picking on the verse……or the guitar echoing DV’s vocal on the chorus, but it comes across a little messy even for Vain. Like a hive of bees knocking on a tin can.
To sum up, it’s not one of Vain’s best. It’s a shame that the middle of the album trips out and disappears where the sun doesn’t shine. I really wanted to like this, but it falls short, especially when you know what DV is capable of.