Brisbane-based Vidaus has crafted a uniquely atmospheric album with this release entitled Morbid. Far from the mood implied by the project’s name, the opening and title track starts things off with a hypnotic progression of hopeful notes, a guitar-led riff, and the distant hum of technology and humanity intertwined. It feels very much like hearing something of importance happening just off in the distance, as if you’ve stumbled upon a secret show. In reality though, the song’s subject matter falls far from the calmness implied by the audio. The words aren’t easy to catch, but you can look them up – There’s nothing to death. It’s like Mac said, it’s just stepping over to another plane – and that’s where you start to build an understanding of the experiences or stories that have led to this project, and the possible reasons for the difficult to hear nature of the human touch. The realness is far louder than the music.
Tired brings the human voice a little closer to the stage, whispering gentle melodies to you, still offering up those guitar riffs that frame the central ideas and help drive the entrancing rhythm along. By this point, you’re fairly secure in your beliefs that this is something of an alternative rock or gentler, post-emo offering, bringing together elements from Brand New and Radiohead alike, but actually just presenting something pretty unusual. These songs are extremely expressive and emotional in nature, Tired in particular presents some increasingly passionate musicianship but still manages to hold on to that inherent calmness that is the soundscape’s general feel.
All of the tracks on this project have a single word as their title. The words vary in subject matter, particularly in what they mean to the listener. The lack of clear lyrics means that the journey is likely to be a little different for everyone who hears it. Alone is a piano-led piece that feels unexpected yet quickly fits in with the organic and repetitive smoothness of the album on the whole. Certain retro elements fuse with that ongoing wave of piano, so you get something that’s all at once beautiful and creatively refreshing. Your mind wanders, you consider the concept of being alone, and in this case – the mood set by the chords and the notes is fairly uplifting; as if it’s not all that bad to be by yourself. Not all that bad at all.
Deaf is a song that again feels right at home here. There’s something very intimate about it, the reverb-soaked leading vocals offer a stunning melody line, almost whispered and barely audible for the most part, but what you do catch is intriguing, and heart wrenching. The questioning nature and the references to the self really resonate, as does this concept of the child being taken away. The guitar riff here is gorgeous, crisp and contrasting with that vocal line. It’s all incredibly atmospheric and provocative at the same time. Once again, your mind wanders, lightly guided by the music surrounding you and the story-line within.
Gave birth to a beautiful daughter
Only to have to beg you for you not to take her away
Look into her eyes just like mine
And her bright smile from you
Daddy daddy daddy please please don’t go
Leave is a song that leans more in the synth-pop direction than anything else. Two opposing melodies structure the song, a thick yet distant beat drives it along. Lyrics of inner difficulty and struggle emerge, quite poetically – I wish that the sun wouldn’t come up, Until after I’m asleep. There are moments of joy in among the darkness here that again seek to intrigue in an unexpected way.
The lyrics throughout this project really change the way you receive it. In some cases, only a few lines show up; a few carefully selected ideas and statements that again fuse poetry and turmoil. Never is a fine example of this, as is the closing track Wind. The latter of these is a distinctly peaceful song that works well with its title in creating a gentle ambiance not unlike a light breeze. The melody has hope again, the lyrics reference flowers and nature, memories, sadness; all intertwined. The use of metaphor is uncommon in modern music and it’s powerful here. The song builds and builds, softly but surely, until finally the energy reaches its peak and falls away.
You know for certain that you’ve experienced something extraordinary when you listen to this album in full. It’s a fascinating collection that really holds tight to your attention and provokes deep consideration of the ideas within.