Sky Full Of Messages

Victor Bravo

Independent release, 2008

REVIEW BY: Melanie Love


I’m always one for soulful singer-songwriters, the kind who craft lyrics that lit geeks adore. But sometimes, I want an album that doesn’t need puzzling over; an album that just begs for the speakers to be turned up; basically, an album that rocks.

Sky Full Of Messages, the latest from New York City-based Victor Bravo (the group released their debut EP, Shut Out The Sky, in 2006) is one of those discs that’s all the better for its rough edges. Furious slashes of guitars (courtesy of singer/guitarist Collin Frendz) crash past Dan Collins’ equally unhinged drum stylings, creating a raw, intoxicatingly messy sound that at its best recalls Mudhoney, Iggy Pop, and Nirvana.

Opener “Drain On Me” starts out with a sweetly melodic snippet of guitar – which lasts all of ten seconds before the drums kick in and all hell breaks loose. The lyrics are simple but effectively punky (although they are a little hard to make out over the sheer sonic storm of guitars -- not that Kurt Cobain’s or Iggy Pop’s wailings were ever particularly coherent). Still, it’s not too tough to get the gist of this aggressively energetic track: it’s a nice little fuck-you to everything that “sucks me dry,” whether it’s, as their website says, “Parents, partners, politicos, and all the various forces of darkness.”my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

The full force of this disc is maintained throughout the twenty minute runtime. “Kick You Out” is a short and not so sweet, a little repetitive lyrically but burning with a brutal power, while “Make My Escape” plays it harder and faster, ratcheting the drumming up to warp-speed, while Frendz’s voice -- an escalating, raw, echoing wail -- is pure insanity here, albeit in an entirely entertaining way.

My only complaint is that it’s all a bit of a sonic blur. Individually, each song is powerful and strangely catchy, but placed back-to-back, they become tougher to differentiate. Which is why a song like closer “Long Face,” which takes a more slow-burning approach, is all the more memorable. It loses none of its raucousness, but there’s a sense of ominousness here that really shows what Victor Bravo can do when they mix it up. The guitars are brooding, Frendz’s vocals are sharper, terser, and the lyrics too are jagged, with all sorts of unexpected line breaks that add to the uneasy feeling: “Sat down and / Tried to write my / Novel I / Think I will / Start stopping, the writing / I’m stopping the writing.” It’s a song that gets better with each listen and the sheer weirdness of it leaves me intrigued, wanting more.

When I last reviewed Victor Bravo, I predicted that their full-length album would be absolutely explosive. And it is -- everything here is vigorous and blazing and furious. But what makes these grunge-rockers so promising is where they’ve left off with “Long Face,” which shows that when they rock, they’re great, but even when they scale it back, they still rock.

Rating: B+

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 2008 Melanie Love and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Independent release, and is used for informational purposes only.