In the recent weeks and months riding up to their debut at Charlotte’s The Evening Muse, Artist Vice has hit the ground running. With stops into 106.5’s station to hang out with Divakar and with a spread ready to hit the streets in this week’s Creative Loafing, we’ve gotten to hear much personally from the 3-man ensemble that make up Vice’s cast. We’re currently less than a week from Jan. 6, so before our friends and neighbors head on over on Sunday night, before the opening curtain rises, we’re going to dive into “Jot It Down Get It Out” and give it some well-deserved love.
“First Impressions” is a soft intro in, and one of my favorites from the 6-track album. My interpretation in is the nervousness that comes with someone new. The lyrics hit both sides; the struggle to do all the right things and the inner cry out to whomever the speaker ends up meeting, wanting them not to think the worst. This song, almost ironically, is also our first impression on the band themselves (*wink wink*), and does a good job of introducing their sense of symphonic style for this particular album.
Slower and a bit more melodic, “Cleared For Landing” seems more about how much we wander or move about, but maybe not take enough time to stop and relax. “You’re cleared for landing; but where are you going?” makes me think of the brakes we may not realize are even there in our travels. The slower tempo gives a much more relaxed atmosphere, defining the contemplation in the song over what we may be doing in our own lives.
“Home” is something that could be connected to those brief stops we allow ourselves to have, defining the occasion and feeling. The opening and the follow-up sets of lyrics vibe off of each other, speaking both off of large family gatherings and the idea of being anywhere yet still being in one place of mind, meeting up at the chorus line “Home is where you make it.” When we get older, “home” can define both family and friends as our communities become bigger, going outside one specific location, and this song revels in that fact and feeling. The track plays bigger and louder between Alex Stewart’s vocals, Austin Eller on the drums, and Josh Geddings at the bass riffs, emphasizing the excitement of those moments.
“The Other Side” takes the concept of a life after this one in stride, slowing to a normal pace and steadied tempo. It’s hopeful and thoughtful, a sweet tune filled with the images of what the speaker’s loved one has shown them, vowing to find them once their time is over and the next starts. The exit on the piano feels almost perfect, like a pleasant goodbye. Placing it next to “Our Little One” at the end, this listener feels, gives more meaning to both, embracing both the after and the start of something new. The keyboard replaces the guitars for the most part, bringing in more echoes that reverberate with the lyrics. The expression of the warmth in the expecting feelings of new life glimmer here.
I intentionally saved the middle track for the end because it applies well to the beginning of the new year. “Inspiration” feeds into the impulses and fears that we have collectively, creatively and ambitiously.
“Just close your eyes now;
see it in your mind.
Jot it down, Get it out;
Eureka comes in time”
Sometimes its hard to get out what you want, when you want. It gets rough to feel like you can’t create. Artist Vice embodies that feeling and embraces the fight to get to the other side.
“You want to give up;
Nothing’s on your mind.
Follow the impulse;
and dreams will fall in line.”
I think I love this track most because of the process it symbolizes. It feels like it comes from a well-known and sometimes desperate place, and ends up providing the words needed for listeners to tune in, take that breath, and continue the path toward those goals in mind. We all need it, the goal at the end that provides a track for our often winding journeys. It’s hopeful, and I love it most for what it speaks to.
All in all, “Jot It Down” is an amazing first album from the trio. It’s upbeat messages and mix of pop/rock also reminds me of the early days for Barenaked Ladies in a few of the tracks. Artist Vice will be in town this Saturday at 7pm at The Evening Muse, headlining with Laura Rabell. If you’re still looking for that bit of pick-up into 2018, this is surely the place to be to feel a little inspiration.
As always, thank you for reading. Have a solid start to 2018!!!
Stay Warned, Stay Informed. Reporting live, From 20XX
– D. Sigma