First published by www.greenmanmusic.biz
The first of a brace of EP releases from a Worcestershire based trio and unusually this first one is a live acoustic recording. The stripped down session is often something bands resort to in an attempt to plug a gap between releases, or to fulfil a record company release quota. However, as Vault Of Eagles are unsigned and self-release, and are swiftly following this one up almost immediately with a normal release the hope is that it is a more considered collection of songs, that were meant to be heard in this format rather than the normal set played on acoustic instruments.
This EP was recorded live, a technique which when amplified in particular can catch a band dynamic much more effectively than heavily produced recordings ever will, and that does do that here, it sounds live and you really get the sense that the band were all together in the one room, you feel like you are there with them. It does also end up sounding a little rushed and rough around the edges, which at some points really adds to the effect, giving it a real DIY feel, but this is a stark counterpoint to the otherwise professional finish of the bands overall image (they have one of the nicest websites I have seen in a while).
The band have made a valiant attempt to translate their grungy, laid back droney rock sound into this format, but it does in the main end up sounding like electric songs translated to acoustic instruments. Some of the guitar riffs do not really work this way, but you get the feeling that they would be monumental amplified, and it is the same with the vocals, they would simply sound better over ear-bleed loud music. So I really look forward to hearing the follow-up EP where several of these tracks are repeated but in the bands normal dark and dirty style, which as demonstrated on earlier releases is an impressive sonic event.
The songs themselves are beautifully crafted, with creative guitar lines and bass led rhythm patterns that have echoes of eastern arrangements to them. The vocals have some great harmonising that fills the sound-space and lyrics that have melody and bite to them in equal measure. Some moments of great soul and emotion are here (Ruin in particular) and there are plenty of points that do make your ears seriously perk up, but there is still the underlying feeling that something is being held back and the musicians are stifled within the confines in which they are performing.
I can’t help wishing that the electric EP had come first, so that this stood up as an interesting experiment, a band trying new things and giving their songs a fresh life and opening them to new audiences. As the songs are there, and the back catalogue of the musicians is great, I really look forward to being able to hear the next instalment, and cranking it up to 11 as this band are meant to be heard.