A weekly peek into what makes the Knoxville music scene phenomenal. We’ll be bringing you album + concert reviews from the Knoxville area and interviews with local musicians + people behind the scenes.
Vertigo produces a sound that is difficult to define. That’s not a bad thing; it’s actually a plus. Over the years the band has grown in their sonic range. With The Coming and the Going, the band adds dense layers of noise and texture that separate them from most local rock bands. That said, the core is still firmly rooted in a strong, rhythmic rock base. The aforementioned layered textures are a nice addition. Their previous album, …and Miles to Go Before We Sleep, showed glimpses and peeks of the step forward that they actually take with The Coming and the Going.
This progression is not wholly surprising. The band is filled, front-to-back and side-to-side, with people at the top of their game. Lindsey Stamey is a premier vocalist with the ability to bounce between singing beautifully to screeching incoherently. Sometimes it’s the subtle nuance of her vocal performance that takes a song from two-and-a-half stars to a four-star completed effort. But that’s not a slight, in the least, to the music that she sings along to.
Her brother, Justin Stamey, provides very strong, dense [in a good way] drumming that is quite literally a sight to see. He furiously pounds on the skins in total isolation and with complete clarity. To put it crudely, he’s a helluva drummer.
Concurrently, Nathan Engels continually supplies a well-engineered bass line that stays to the back of the classroom until it’s time for him to step forward, stepping up to the front, and shredding through the progression of all around him.
Which leaves us with Joel Rudnick on guitar. Rudnick is a tremendous guitar player, a fact that all too often is not fully appreciated. Sometimes that’s of his own volition, providing textures and pure sonic noise to the track as opposed to giant, stadium-like guitar solos. In fitting with Vertigo’s overall sound, this is a perfect match and the crux behind every song that truly stands out.
The song “Wraith” is a stand out for the way it builds into the chorus. The music seems to be teetering on the precipice, only to explode once the chorus goes into full measure, which is a nice touch.
Why “Ethelle” is not a radio hit I haven’t the foggiest. Beginning to end, it has that certain drive that would fit perfectly on UTK or The X. Plus, the lyrics are really well-crafted.
“Techne” showcases Nathan’s ability to step up to the forefront while still interspersing Joel’s light touches throughout. Nice jingly tune with a good mixture of old and new school techniques.
The title track is a nice departure, somewhat, like the song “Melatonin” is on …and Miles to Go Before We Sleep. It’s also a good example of the use of layers on this album. Lindsey’s vocals waft over the music almost as just another instrument.
The only detraction, which is one I’ve held onto from the early days, is that I’d like to see the speed and voracity that the band has the ability to produce be laid down on a studio album. Vertigo has the talent to go faster; I just wish they’d let it all hang out and go for it on a few tracks. But that’s just me… and may not count for much considering I own a plethora of Dire Straits albums.
Photo by Travis Stevens, courtesy of the band’s MySpace page.
Nice, thanks for bringing these guys to my attention.
Sounds like quite a driven double brace of talent. Given my tangential knowledge base of the local music scene I’d be interested to know if they’re all native Knoxvillians; nevertheless, thanks for piquing my interest in exploring this band further.
Great band! Great review!
Well-written… Makes me want to hear their music!
Very well said, rather, written. Best last sentence, ever.
A plethora of Dire Straits albums, you say? I would not like to think that a person would tell someone he has a plethora, and then find out that that person has *no idea* what it means to have a plethora.
Seriously, this isn’t necessarily my preferred genre of music, but it sounds interesting and I’m always up for checking out the local bands. Thanks for the review!
I like Jody’s style, particularly the track descriptions.
Please keep the reviews coming…so insightful and right-on!
Nice review… Thank you for letting me know about these guys. I like your style.
saw them in houston ——- then went to austin to see them again ——- truly an awesome band that ridiculously kind and talented
hi guys. hope to see you soon!
I found these guys through myspace before finding this review. You like like Ethelle as a radio hit but i’d put my vote in for Techne, or maybe even Knickknack. I love the way she drives into that chorus.
Anyway it saddened me that I had just discovered them in September only to watch them break up in November. They had over a million plays when they disbanded. To me any band with that many plays should be signed.
I’m glad their myspace page is still up because i still find myself coming back for a fix.