Reviews, Articles & Radio
First Review for The 'NO FATE?' EP
Benedict Jephcote shares his views on the forthcoming EP from The Vaulted Skies.
"If you live off melody and atmosphere, the No Fate? EP from The Vaulted Skies is a treat.
'Does Anyone Else Feel (Strange)?' kicks into gear with a measured build of atmospherics. Insistent drums, a cloud of choral voices and icy, chiming guitars open before a bounding bass line draws us into song.
Distorted guitar joins the swirl of melody as frontman James provides a call out to the outsiders of the world.
Midway through, the bridge brings a chromatic twist, the choral cloud hangs over us and a solo pierces through with a squall of feedback.
The song keeps hitting with hooks until it exits in a final flourish of guitar.
'It Starts With You' evokes punk at a magician's sideshow tent. As the drums pound and guitar spins cartwheels, the vocals call out the absurdities of modern life and where the root of dealing with them lies.
The track blusters along pulling over any objects that are not riveted down.
Time slows down for 'The Falling Man'. A track with echoing solemnity, and an emotional response to the images of a man submitting to a long fate in midst of the terror and panic of the World Trade Centre attacks.
The bass is plaintive, the guitar sparse and contemplative as James' implores "it's the only way!".
The Falling Man captures an air of resignation, of submitting to a fate when caught between a rock and a hard place; a sentiment that can echo for many of us outside of the context of the song's own subject matter.
Now step into 'The Night'. Sirens blare and skittering rhythms have us looking round our shoulders in paranoia. Guitar stabs in shards in the breaks between verses.
The Night invites the darkness deep into the protagonist's soul as he longs to "feel your grip around my throat". Crank up the desperation in the derangement and enjoy the ride!"
Benedict Jephcote is a writer of fiction and non-fiction. Music has been a driving force in both sparking inspiration and fuelling the writing process.
Plasma Music TV
"...the rhythm section is tight and solid while Ben and James swap guitar parts with precision producing a spacey but articulate kind of ‘wave’ of Gothic rock heaven..."
"...by the time TVS had finished their set, we all just wanted more."
The Witching Hour on New York's WayoFM
The Vaulted Skies feature from 14m 55s in this 1hr special on new bands with a dark side.
Between an airing of 'Does Anyone Else Fee (Strange)?' and snippets from our official biog, presenter Gus comments:
"A band that, as soon as I heard them, I wanted to play them on the show, is a band called Vaulted Skies... So I'm going to play them next so that you can enjoy them too..."
"...If this catches on, I can see it being pumped in every dark club from here to Timbuktu. And possibly the Arctic too, where [presenter colleague on holiday] Mr Hyde is right now..."
"...Again, Vaulted Skies: live it, love it, know it!"
Ralph's Life has reviewed 'The Strange EP'...
The Vaulted Skies - Live @ The Horn, St. Albans, 25th March 2015
Reviewed by Richard M Brown
"I have been following this band through its various guises for more than half a decade. Always highly creative, energetic and musically gifted they have ever seemed to be on the verge of a breakthrough. The set they performed recently at The Horn strongly suggested that their hour has come.
What struck me forcibly is the way that raw power has been refined. The youthful energy is still very much there but it is channelled such that it is completely in their control.
When pressed to identify their musical genre, lead singer James Scott lists ‘influences’ (The Cure, Nirvana, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Warpaint, New Order, Muse, Joy Division, Radiohead, PJ Harvey to name the major ones) but won’t be pinned down. This is entirely a good thing; originality is a major element in their appeal.
This independence of spirit is reflected in the band’s ‘livery’. Scott favours the use of make-up, the keyboard player wears a white lab coat and white-framed glasses, the other three are, sartorially speaking, ‘regular guys’. This disparity doesn’t matter; the music speaks.
Scott’s voice is a potent instrument of great dynamic range. His guitar-playing has reached a very high standard. He uses finger nail rather than plectrum. Whilst the left hand dances fluently on the frets the right moves at blurring speed. He pours heart and soul into every moment.
The others match Scott for musical ability and commitment. Rupert Hobday skilfully complements Scott on the guitar whilst John Melia adds a powerfully striking bass sound. In earlier manifestations the band, as is often the case, has struggled to find and retain an empathetic percussionist but in Scott Bradley they have surely found their man, a pyrotechnical master of his instruments. Ben Singleton very creatively provides what the band describe as ‘keyboard experiments’, a contribution which goes a long way towards the creation of a distinctive and distinguished unity.
The five of them play as a very well-integrated unit, always working to make a thrillingly coordinated sound which Scott describes as ‘edgy, alternative, indie pop-rock designed to make you laugh, cry, think and dance’ which, perhaps whimsically, he suggests can sometimes be done all at once.
Scott writes all of the lyrics, citing the poet Longfellow as a major influence. At the recent Horn gig the set opened with ‘It starts with you’, an instantly arresting number which reminds us of our responsibility for many of life’s ills that we complain about.
‘Vampires’ is about the pursuit of love and poses key questions culminating in ‘What’s the matter with you?/What’s so wrong with me?/Don’t you want to be in love?/Like everyone else?’
The question might be rhetorical but ‘Caroline slipped across the sky’ perhaps suggests a strategy. Poetically Scott sings ‘Oh night I crave your soft embrace/But when you hold me I am new/And I cannot give up your grace/For the promise of another truth.’ The advice ‘So get it while you can.’ is the concluding mantra, belted out, leaving us in no doubt.
In the next number Scott, in a more reflective mode, enigmatically suggested that ‘some days it’s bold to be a human being’ but asserts, ‘I will see this through/To the bitter end/ I will make excuses for strangers so we can be happy again.’
These four songs have been in the band’s repertoire for quite a while; they have been refined and polished to a very high standard. The newer, fifth number at the Horn was, ‘Out of sight’ and it showed that the creative juices are still very much flowing. To a degree it is apocalyptic but in the line, ‘But you know there is only one you can blame’ – there’s an echo from the first offering; ‘It starts with you.’
The set ended pulsatingly with, ‘Does anyone else feel (strange)?. Over and over Scott puts the question. The answer surely has to be ‘yes’ but through the power of the music The Vaulted Skies have made it possible for some of us at least to feel a little less strange. Although the band forces some tough questions onto us there is an underlying message of the power of being human. Far from being dismaying the experience was mightily uplifting.
The Vaulted Skies offer music of the very highest quality and a much-needed message of hope. They richly deserve to be heard on the broadest possible stage."
Richard Miles Brown is a published author of works spanning subjects as diverse as skiing and metaphysics. He originated www.universetheory.com and is a co-founder of the writers’ website www.writewords.co.uk
He is also an accomplished visual artist.