I’ve written about and shared with you music over the last few months from a wonderful new band, VAS (originally known as “Elder”).  We premiered three tracks previously and now Popdose is happy to be the first to bring to the national stage the self-titled debut album from VAS.  I once said that this band’s sound is built around great slabs of soundscapes that are dramatic and lush – and that not only holds true, but is shown/heard to greater effect with these new songs that are unveiled.  Most importantly that this is a young band who already have a great, intuitive sense of sculpting a melody and will, undoubtedly, go from “already very good” to “predictably great” in not too long a period of time.

The track “Vipers” is a perfect example – starting quietly and subdued with a tautly understated guitar/rhythm/keyboard that immediately builds up in a dramatic manner with a hypnotic guitar riff and then exiting on a quiet piano/vocal fade; “Soda Pop”, which was their introductory bow, has a swirling keyboard and pounding keyboard to reel you in as the tension of the song mounts – and here is where you really hear lead singer Andrew Elder’s voice shine with its smooth range; “Make It” opens the collection with vocal harmonies treated by electronics and a slow, syrupy groove that grabs you immediately.  It’s a daring piece to begin an album and a successful one as it has dynamic shifts with peaks and valleys.

“BloodIsBloodIsBlood” is a beautiful, haunting piano piece with atmospheric swirls for effect around Andrew Elder’s impassioned vocals; “Rock My World” is another electronic-aided track but the guitar textures rise with a crispness along with the rhythm section and is easily the album’s possible single (“Soda Pop” already having been issued); “Dream For Real” is a dream-like, slightly off-time piece with interesting tempo shifts and “She Told Me” is a cinematic coup – visual and striking.

So here are the young men of VAS – Andrew Elder on lead vocals, keyboards and programming, Ian Duren on drums and percussion, Tim Kanter on guitar and Charles Stout on bass.  As fine a young band as I’ve heard (and could hope to hear) in many years.  And this debut album is one for the ages.  Mature, thoughtful and emotionally moving.  Most importantly, the music they make will stay with you beyond the first listen.


VAS will be available Friday, April 8th, 2016



About the Author

Rob Ross

Rob Ross has been, for good, bad or indifferent, involved in the music industry for over 30 years - first as guitarist/singer/songwriter with The Punch Line, then as freelance journalist, producer and manager to working for independent and major record labels. He resides in Staten Island, New York with his wife and cats; he works out a lot, reads voraciously, loves Big Star and his orange Gretsch. Doesn't that make him neat?

View All Articles