Vague Pains - Fragile Rush - Stereo Stickman

Vague Pains Fragile Rush


Michigan’s Vague Pains offer up an hypnotic dream-rock arena of contemplative songs and sounds, for their uniquely engaging album Fragile Rush.

Orion in Pursuit is the opener, a title as intriguing as the album and band name, and a sound equally worthy of attention for its calming connection and depth.

The first thing you may notice is the contrast between the distant, reverb-drenched voice and the clarity of the guitar – all at once we get the organic soft-rock tone and the more dreamy immersive shoe-gaze enchantment. And things continue to impress from here, the opener structurally moving from quiet whispers to intense bursts of energy and volume, with some genuinely effective instrumental riffs along the way.

Far from an ode to a single genre or style, Vague Pains are quick to showcase the artistry of their writing. Each song builds up beautifully, sweeping the listener away on its changing passion and presence as per the central theme and emotion of the writing. These qualities can be heard in the fuller rock soundscape of Artist’s Soul, the concept rightfully seeing things rise and fall once again – almost like waves of changing opinions and perspectives.

Nostalgia takes hold for Locked Away, as well as the impressive rhythm-work from drummer Nik. There’s a lighter eighties feel to the melody and riffs, more of those mysterious, slightly backseat lyrics that intrigue and prompt interest in a closer listen. This continues throughout the clearly poetic and brighter intensity of Feathering Out. Here the guitar sounds particularly good, especially in its juxtaposition to the warmer, smoother moments before each outburst.

For Spirit Lines there’s a hint of character to the voice, almost blending that eighties synth-pop sound with something a little more Arctic Monkeys-esque, just subtly. As ever, the song slowly but surely becomes an addictive anthem – softly screaming out on behalf of deeply consuming human sentiments. Made Strong follows with another powerful progression from quietness to explosively chaotic passion.

Creatively Stand Apart gets both production and performance just right. Vague Pains are clearly versatile in their approach to each song, this time showcasing a grittier long-form arrangement with cleaner vocals and a mighty sense of escapism to its road-trip ready, Americana-kissed groove.

Interesting production continues throughout a more ambient The Long Way, the band furthering their creative freedom, then elevating the consistent artistry of the album all the more so as the fascinating instrumental Typewriter pours into view.

Closing things down is the title-track, Fragile Rush securing the understanding that this is an album worth spending a little time with – the kind of project that gifts some new trait or hint of insight with each revisit.

A refreshingly original alternative to classic shoe-gaze and indie rock, with distinctly thoughtful undertones that breathe new life and literary beauty into the modern scene.

Download Fragile Rush via Bandcamp. Find Vague pains on Instagram, Threads & their Website.

Rebecca Cullen

Founder & Editor

Founder, Editor, Musician & MA Songwriter

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