Album Reviews

The Vacant Lots – Departure

(Sonic Cathedral)

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a2904545206_10Perfectly introducing the listener to the hypnotic, hallucinatory world that The Vacant Lots inhabit, Departures is one hell of a debut record.

The album starts with a blast to the senses with the utterly mind melting rave that is “Mad Mary Jones.”  With walls of fuzzy guitars, electronic drones, frantic rhythms and reverb-heavy vocals, this opening track snags the listener tightly and sets the tone for the rest of the LP. Every track swirls and throbs with a lysergic blurriness, from the pounding trance of “6AM” to the mesmerizing spoken word piece, “Make The Connection.”

The style of The Vacant Lots can be best described as electro-psychedelic rock. Elements of their sound may be traced back to the likes of The Velvet Underground, Can and even The Silver Apples. Another influence is certainly Spacemen 3, which is made very clear on the record as Peter Kember, a former member of the group, mixed and mastered Departures. With nearly the entire album being tastefully soaked in rich echo and given a cold, chromatic feel, Kember’s presence is impossible not to notice.

If their debut is this fascinating, it staggers the imagination to think of what The Vacant Lots will do next.

– Keith Hadad

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