St. Louis, Missouri might not be the first place you’d look for the freshest new music, but hometown heroes Choir Vandals sprung onto the scene late last year with their EP ‘Darker Things’, and haven’t stopped since. Having toured all over the country, they’ve gained a cult following with their blend of alternative and indie rock, with just a dash of emo. Signing to 6131 Records soon after their debut, they’re already back with their second offering, ‘At Night’. Prepare for 12 minutes of brooding, unadulterated energy.
Monsters kicks off the EP with a sneer and a moody flick of its guitar. The winding riffs wrap themselves around you like smoke, until you’re tangled up in the memories of a relationship gone bad. Keeping up the ironic tones so trademark of Choir Vandals, Medicate takes over, with plenty of noise and reverb to make anyone lose their minds—in the best way possible. The off-beat drum patterns are a highlight here, putting you slightly on edge. Diving deeper into melancholy, At Night And In The Rain begins reminiscent of La Dispute, and then leans more towards emo than indie, with the lyric, “I’ve lost control, but god it feels incredible” perfectly summing up the swirl of emotions in the song. But the musicality is not out of control in the slightest—they know exactly what they’re doing, especially when the bridge hits with a staccato riff that echoes in the absence of the noise from before. And just to hammer that home, the song is perfectly brought to a close by a screeching solo. Ready to go out with a bang is Watch, bringing with it a wall of riffs, penetrated only by Austin McCutchen’s slurring vocals. This is a song about going out and making something of yourself, and it’s certainly something they’ve done with ‘At Night’—if they’re happy about being down, that is.
‘At Night’ is an inspired effort from the Missouri fourpiece, so if you’re up for a night of getting down and dark, kick back with this gloriously moody EP. This may only be their second release, but Choir Vandals have already got their downbeat indie sound completely mastered, so we can expect even bigger things in their future.
Words : Alex Bear
Choir Vandals – ‘At Night’
Released : 28 October, 2014