Album Reviews
Band: Vega

Title: Grit Your Teeth

Label: Frontiers Music Srl

 

The first time I saw Vega was as a support act for FM at the Academy just after the release of their debut album 'Kiss Of Life', and already owning a copy leading up to the gig, I was looking forward to seeing them live, as they seemed to be a 'good rockin' band'.  So when they hit the stage, I have to admit I was a little disappointed, as yes, they sounded the part, but image-wise, they had, as I'd put it, 'new, off the hanger' look about them.  Instead of the 'lived-in, worn for days look I was expecting from a Rock band, they looked as refreshing as they could, hair done by Nicky Clarke just seconds ago instead of 'where the fook is me comb' look.  So I immediately thought 'poseurs' and just enjoyed the music anyway.  Thing is, over the years since, I've come to realise that the 'Modern Rock' look is exactly the way they looked that night, Tax The Heat, Nickleback, Kaleo, they all look clean-cut and immaculate, so I stand corrected and as long as the music 'does the biz', then all's well, so I'm pleased to report that with this, the 6th album from Vega, 'the biz' is well and truly done!

 

Now, is it me, or does the band sound a tad heavier than usual here, 'cos on the opening track 'Blind' they don't knock on the door, they kick the bugger off it's hinges on a huge barrage of riffage and drumming that reminds me of that famous debut from GNR back in the late 80's.  It has that 'F-you' attitude surrounding it from start to finish, and how good does vocalist Nick Workman sound?! This sounds like a band on a mission here, and when '(I Don't Need) Perfection' bursts into life, it doesn't matter that it takes a mellower tone to begin with due to the rhythm section easing along nicely.  The song kicks up a notch as the chorus comes along lead by the yobbish 'yeah, yeah, yeahs' that are bound to be a hit when we eventually get to see Vega live, so get practising those fist-pumps, folks!  The title track sounds like FM/Thunder at their best, the guitars cranked up to 11.  Keys from James Martin shining through, especially on the subtle touches of choiristic section midway through, but really, this song sounds so big, it shows where this band are heading, slowly but surely, and as the vibe turns to a lovely shade of 'dirty Blue-s' with 'Man On A Mission', you can only wonder why this band aren't already there, and doesn't drummer Martin Hutchison come across as if he's having one hell of a time on his kit!!  Go for it, kidda!!!!

 

'Don't Fool Yourself' boots it's way along on a mean n' moody drum pattern and guitar work that is noticeably heavier than we're used to by Vega.  But this album wants to pull no punches and on evidence, it does that quite cannily when you get tracks like this, though they take a step back to a more mellow side on the 'ballad' 'Consequence Of Having A Heart'.  The key work here giving the song an early 80's appeal, sort of Blue Zoo meets Tears For Fears if you will, or not if that thought repulses you!  It's back to the 'Modern' side of Rock with 'This One's For You', atmospheric keys again at the fore, but with plenty of those gritty riffs keeping them company as this canters along at pace, Workman's vocals as polished as a new pair of Dr. Martens, then slowing the tempo down on the heart-tugging 'Battles Ain't A War', where the clever use of armed conflict terms are used to describe the human side of emotional needs, and as before, James Martin's keys play a big part in bringing the thought-provoking lyrics to light.  He does exactly the same on 'Save Me From Myself', but this time the subject is a more darker subject altogether, and in this day and age, the lyrics may just resonate with quite a few out there if they listen to it carefully.  An important song on this album, one feels.

 

'How We Live' brings back the sunshine with it's full throttle pop/rock twist, the chorus one of those that'll have them singing in the aisles and soft tops.  The solo that jumps in is bound to get the best out of every air guitarist out there, so get tuning again, especially when 'Done With Me' bursts through the seams like an upbeat cousin to late 80's Def Leppard.  In fact, this wouldn't be amiss on the all-time classic 'Hysteria', the whole package you get here just screams out 'I just wanna join in', and is impossible to ignore, and this is how the album 'Grit Your Teeth' comes across, impossible to ignore as it is, by far, the best album Vega have come up with to date, and hopefully it'll get them to that place they now deservedly should be. 

 

Fantastic, chaps! 

 

Review by: Robb Baldwin

 

Tracklisting:

1.  Blind
2.  (I Don't Need Perfection)
3.  Grit Your Teeth
4.  Man On A Mission
5.  Don't Fool Yourself
6.  Consequence Of Having A Heart
7.  This One's For You
8.  Battles Ain't A War
9.  Save Me From Myself
10.  How We Live 
11. Done With Me

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