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Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
Halcyon Digest
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
The Walkmen - Lisbon
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Fat Possum
Plague Music EP
Equal Vision Records

Rating: 7/10 ?

October 1, 2004
Vaux is knocking at the major label door. And somebody's going to answer, sooner or later. Touring with the likes of The Used, Coheed and Cambria and The Blood Brothers, among others, and performing as part of the 2002 Warped Tour has given the Denver band plenty of exposure. More to the point, they've got that dark, densely layered guitar sound that's captured the fancy of today's hip, young punk. Package it with a theatrical stage show and you've got yourself a marketing department's wet dream. Just think of the units they'll push.

Plague Music, a five-song, 16:35 snack of an EP, ought to help them get that big, fat contract. Picture a goth version of Refused, then make it sleazier, and you've got Vaux.

They've got their hardcore merit badges, but there's nothing primitive or raw about their music, except the wildcat vocals of Quentin Smith. The production is pretty slick on Plague Music, but Vaux doesn't make any apologies for it. Nor should they. They've got three guitarists, and they're going to use them to create a frenzied riot of a record.

Vaux often seems like an amplified Hydra, with one serpentine head winding a forked tongue of venomous, knotted notes around your neck while the others spew black clouds of hardcore locusts that fly through city streets into the homes of the unbelievers.

The title track closer is as heavy as Vaux gets, with guitarists Chris Sorenson, Greg Daniels and Adam Tymn laying it on thick, at least at first. Pounding piano builds to a massive wave of guitar as Smith screams, "There's no one living on your radio, on your video, and on your TV screen." Turning quiet, Smith sings, "Nobody's famous anymore" near the end, and the three-headed beast weaves together threads of the most melodic chords on the record. "Celibate Good Times" takes on the issue of child molestation within the church, with Smith giving voice to the victims with the line, "His T-shirt read 'The boys won't tell' but if you want to watch there's a tape he'll sell, going round" sung over stinging guitar riffs. "Raid!" has more guitar crunch, although it opts for a fairly predictable loud-soft dynamic.

"Sex Will Happen Tonight" is something altogether different, with eerie electronic beats and synthesized strings and accordion sounds providing a bed of black velvet for lyrics about sexual addiction. "Lock your doors and pull your shades," sings Smith in an airy voice that's "Always wet but hardly clean."

Come to think of it, that's as good a description of Vaux as I could ever come up with. Vaux goes to the darkest place within you, where you hide all your shameful secrets, and comes back deeply scarred from the experience. You will be too after listening to Plague Music.

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Reviewed by Peter Lindblad
Peter Lindblad lives in Appleton, Wis., and bleeds green and gold just like all the Packer fan nutjobs in the area. He does draw the line at wearing blocks of chedder on his head, or any other body parts for that matter, though. His professional career has taken weird twists and turns that have led him to his current position as an editor at a coin magazine. He hopes his stay there will be a short one. Before that, he worked as an associate editor at a log home magazine. To anyone that will listen, he\'ll swear that Shiner was one of the greatest rock bands to ever walk the earth. Yet he also has much love for Superchunk, Spoon, DJ Shadow, Swervedriver, Wilco, Fugazi, Jawbox, ... And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead, Queens Of The Stone Age, and Modest Mouse, among others.

See other reviews by Peter Lindblad



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