Not only do The Vinyl Reprisal have a band name just soaked in appealing nostalgia and hope, the music that the Graffiti EP is made up of has everything the hardcore indie fan could want, and then some.
The five track collection smashes into action with the riff heavy and soulfully organic I’m So Bored, an indie rock anthem that sounds just like a live performance, complete with raw energy, passion and intensity. The leading melody hits hard, perhaps not as hard as the instrumentation at first – the guitars, the drums, the grit and realness of the leading vocal all make for an enjoyable distraction in a way – but as the final section steps forward the hook evolves into this hypnotic and memorable moment of music that is impeccably easy to sing along with.
Kill Your Dreams follows on from the opener, another riff-beautiful exploration of distorted creativity. Even at this early point in the project, the collective subject matter of these songs really starts to take shape. Storytelling is a big part of The Vinyl Reprisal sound, and once you allow the thickness of the music to wash over you, you get to really focus in on those lyrics and the inherent personality, humanness, and unique perspective of the songwriting. It’s a realisation that’s notably emphasised as the third and title track begins to play.
Graffiti, the title track from the EP, is a stunning piece of music, melody and writing. The track has a vintage kind of ambiance about it – the use of reverb, the melancholic yet calming nature of the verses, the escalating guitar solo notes – and yet the words and the ideas offer something new and relevant and unexpected. As the following track storms into centre stage there’s a distinct feeling of punk rock to the music, and the lyricism prior to this point makes a lot of sense in that sort of setting.
Graffiti is a gentle and poignant piece. Trash Talk is almost the exact opposite, but only musically speaking. The melody once again has something emotionally powerful to it, even at times verging on being reminiscent of the grunge era, though all of these comparisons are minor moments of desire to label things, to better understand them. Trash Talk is a great song just because it is. The riffs, the energy of the drums, the rhythm of the leading vocal, the lyrics. The song has a freshness to it, and it follows on from the somewhat mellow energy of Graffiti brilliantly. The contrast is captivating and really highlights the importance of clever arrangement.
The final song of the collection is Chuck In The Towel. The structure of this last track is pretty exciting, the classic indie stop and start nature of the music-to-vocal-to-music building blocks make for a welcome change within the project, and yet everything else about it fits perfectly within the newly discovered and greatly appreciated sound that is The Vinyl Reprisal and the Graffiti EP on the whole.
The band have a sound that’s theirs, and with it they offer considerate songwriting, unique moments of creativity, thoughtful structures and powerful statements – not to mention some hugely addictive riffs and melodies. This final track sees things through with an almighty bang, a definite highlight of the whole lot, but also just a reminder of how good the release in its entirety has been. It’s an EP well worth listening to more than a few dozen times over the coming months. UK listeners should also be on the look out for a live show from the band.