When we first introduced you to Chicago’s Vaudevileins in February 2015, they had just released their E.P. Transmission and were then planning on releasing a ten-track full-length album within a five-month period. That didn’t happen exactly as planned – and in the process, a new lead guitarist joined the band – but now, the band have, indeed, made good on their promise for the 10-track album, titled Magician. The energy and power that was first heard on Transmission is made good and then some to even greater effect on this collection, which has top notch production.
Kicking off with “Sea Anemone”, a noise wipeout (not dissimilar to certain elements Bob Mould has used over the years), this is a tougher sounding band than previously with its heavy guitars and quirky starts-and-stops; the title track has some great twin guitars that offset one another on the riffs but crunch together perfectly then moves into the loud/quiet/loud realm and tight harmonies and “Chasing Time” goes at a propulsive 100 m.p.h. in classic, melodic crunch punk style (and let’s not forget, Chicago punk of the ’80’s had some of the best and most criminally overlooked bands of the day like Naked Raygun, Breaking Circus and The Effigies to name but three). “Hell Jazz” has a calm, hypnotically circular riff which, at the beginning, reminds me of the end coda of The Beatles’ “I Want You (She’s So Heavy)” but then builds up into a lush, orchestral masterpiece with real string arrangement, going full-on heavy in the middle and is easily one of the highlights of this album; “38-54-16” has a sinister feel with its minor chord arrangements but the guitars play off one another – again – in dynamic fashion and “Prove It” definitely owes a nod to the Bob Mould/Sugar/Foo Fighters cycle of machine gun guitars, breakneck speed and although it’s one of the shortest tracks on the album, it’s another standout.
Between the release of Transmission and this new album, it’s clear that Vaudeviliens have shaped their sound and evolved into an even tighter, cohesive unit. Dramatic, dynamic and melodic, Magician is a damned impressive and immensely powerful work – and did I mention it’s pretty great? That should be obvious.
Magician is currently available.