Keys and Vices are a band whose music rock and alternative fans will want to spend a fair bit of time with. Fortunately, the album Chronic Nostalgia blesses you with precisely that opportunity – and never does it disappoint.
The band pour through as passionately connected to every song they write. Each piece is structurally unique, creatively expressive, emotionally loaded, and conceptually appealing in a deeply human manner. At the same time, this playlist is perfect for cranking up the volume and losing yourself for a while. The title fits the mood, nostalgia and freshness intertwine impressively – building before you an absolute must for 2019 and beyond.
Out of My Head kicks things off with a creatively fresh and quickly appealing instrumental set-up. An impressive, uplifting riff, a step-by-step build-up, and a subsequently striking melody and story-line that immediately welcome the listener. A strong start, a song that feels perhaps a little more ‘pop’ than everything to come, but also naturally free from the confines of genre or expectation.
Afterwards, Running Away offers up the first moment in which Jennifer Valdez’ vocals reach insanely mesmerizing peaks. An absolute highlight, this song utilizes contrast and structure perfectly, and manages to present a rising sense of genuine passion that takes nothing away from the satisfying hit of the music and the natural uplifting progression of the melody. A personal favourite, stunning instrumentation all round, and Valdez carries you through the moments beautifully.
Like An Anchor is a notably poetic and artistic piece of music that encapsulates the very essence of its own sentiments in a powerful way. A simple hook melody entrances and leaves the listener in a near-meditative state.
A moment of jazz and soul-soaked delicacy emerges for Twila, though not without a gradually rising sense of anticipation. The band more than deliver on that promise, intensity builds and builds, the weight of the music increases and slowly envelops you. The final drop into the full-throttle hit of the track’s peak makes for a creatively unexpected yet musically satisfying moment that’s been perfectly well crafted. Contrast follows again, near-whispered vocals come afterwards, and the cycle starts over. Another highlight for its fine balance between the familiar and the unknown.
The songwriting and the vocals across this project are out of this world. Jennifer Valdez seems born to do this in the way that so many of the greats were. This album is a testament to the future of rock, and to heartfelt artistry as a means for making real music that connects and hits with impact.
How Do I is another with a simple hook melody and a satisfying, addictively anthem-like energy. The long-form meandering verses work brilliantly in the lead up to that punk-pop, power-chord-driven chorus. Perhaps one of the most easily memorable songs on the album.
Arrangement is important, always, and Box of Keys is perfectly well placed. The song begins with absolute quietness and intriguing, mysterious lyrics, before building up organically and in true Keys and Vices fashion. There are definite levels of eclecticism on this project, seeing the band take influence from the likes of Incubus as much as Green Day and, in this case, a little Evanescence. Scattered synths also bring about an unexpectedly dreamlike outer edge. In the end, it’s their own sound, and you know it for that – you know that voice and this style of story-telling and musicality.
Count Back sees a more melancholic, personal and reflective journey pour through – a welcomed break from intensity and an enjoyably smooth yet still incredibly passionate composition. Ghost Love follows and brings the collection to a softly melodic finish. A piano-led ballad lays Valdez’ vocals and lyrics bare, almost feeling a little Kate Bush-like on occasion. Even among this minimal ambiance, the moment feels immense – that emotion is inherent in everything Valdez puts forth, and it passes over to the listener in a profound manner. A brief but big and beautiful finish makes certain you’re hooked-in for the long-run as a fan.
A live show is categorically the next step – after re-playing this project multiple times, in multiple different settings. Keys and Vices are likely to blow the roof off at any venue they grace in the near future. Absolutely a band worth tuning in for.