Indie rock and post-hardcore have never been known as two genres that often get combined. You’d usually see indie rock and punk rock being combined or post-hardcore and some electronic-based genre. They’re two genres that are on completely opposite spectrums. They have totally different chord progressions, lyrical themes and vocal styles. V I S didn’t get that memo. They just decided to throw the two genres together and see what happens. What happened was the equivalent of if At the Drive In and Mutemath had a child but it grew up to be one of those awkward teenagers who aren’t sure if they’re emo or a hipster, so they try to be both. People admire them from a distance but have problems talking to them as they tend to be socially awkward. Either they vent all their emotions in a sheer burst of insanity or they try to be all quiet and reserved yet still manage to be loud and abrasive.
The band’s musical structure is awkwardly mismatched in a way that makes them seem rather aloof and cool. This is how I imagine them deciding on their sound: “Alright. We’re going to take the bass line from Mutemath, the guitar riffs from At the Drive In and the drums we’ll make an ADD kid play. Also, we’ll throw in a vocal combination of At the Drive In, Coheed and Cambria and Closure in Moscow. It’ll be great!”
The funny thing is that it really is great. You’d think that such a mash-up of sound would result in something that should be put into a cage and forced to stay there. This is something that should be done to Justin Bieber and Nickelback. The first listen is a bit abrasive, yet the thundering guitar riffs underlain by a punchy bass line punctuated by upbeat synth grows on you. You grow accustomed to the vocals and admire them for their uniqueness. Yes, it sounds like somebody decided to just pick up the mic and screech into it, but in a way it is actually brilliant. We’re surrounded by bands that focus so much on the production that we forget what it sounds like when they create music for their sake and not for the sake of the people listening. Also, let us not forget that No Waves is an EP. EPs are not meant to be these glorious masterpieces. Instead, they’re more like glorified demos.
“Listen:” is the explosive opening track which introduces their socially awkward brand of, let’s say, progressive rock. It is a great example of the technical skill of the band as they gracefully shift between indie rock chord progression and the chord progression from a post-hardcore band like At the Drive In. “Unprepared” also demonstrates the collision between the world of indie rock and post-hardcore to create controlled chaos. “Memories of Some Distant Future” takes on a much heavier sound which reminds me of Coheed and Cambria with a Mutemath bass line. This song is punctuated by screamed vocals that would make the likes of The Blood Brothers proud. “Static In the Air” demonstrates their indie side as they slip into a hybrid of Mutemath and Closure In Moscow. “Runners” is the closing song on the album and ends it in a soaring cacophony of chaotic noise.
No Waves may sound like the social awkward ADD kid, but it is also a reflection of a band with immense technical skill. Very few bands can take a five-song EP and cram such a diverse range of musical genres into so few minutes. It has an abrasive feel to it, yet it is incredibly listenable and you can get a good kick from it if you put it on to your respective music player, max the volume and have a full out dance party or jam session to it. Rock music is meant to be abrasive so sit back and enjoy the ride, because V I S is going to be hurtling down the highway to fame.
You can stream and purchase No Waves for yourself over at V I S’s Bandcamp page.