The Vigilance Committee - Exit a Hero
Exit a Hero is the second
full-length album by Long Island weirdo-indie rockers, The Vigilance Committee.
They haven’t always been so weird, however, as the band started as a more
conventional rock outfit in 2009 whose only unique element was a vestigial
harpist. Now sans harp, Exit a Hero has
brought out the more experimental side to The Vigilance Committee. This album
not only showcases the group’s heretofore hidden technical prowess but it
creates a truly unique sound with which the band can try to etch out a niche
for themselves in the very samey indie climate of today.
All four members of The Vigilance Committee were
integral in writing and producing Exit a
Hero and it is evident in their song composition that it was a
collaborative effort. Lead vocalist and guitarist Peter J. Scoma, drummer and
vocalist Phil Corso, Christian Cepeda on
guitar, keyboard and vocals and Jesse Asch on bass and vocals all add their own
unique elements to the album to make it what it is: a segmented composite of
styles that somehow works by creating a unique style out of its respective
multi-faceted style must be a new venture for The Vigilance Committee, as their
first album, Lost Again, is much more standard alt rock with some surf punk. Still
a great album, Lost Again is
definitely a little easier to characterize with similarities to Vampire Weekend
or The Mars Volta with a little Smashing Pumpkins and The Cramps thrown in for
good measure. As of April 2014 when Lost
Again was released, The Vigilance Committee were part of a growing
throwback grunge scene but they clearly decided to change directions with Exit a Hero. The minor keys and
dissonant vocals of the grunge era are still present as are the surf punk
guitars and drums in many cases, but they have been decidedly scaled back.
on Exit a Hero listeners will find
chaotic, organized noise-style guitars and songs arranged in
30-second-to-one-minute vignettes which are of all different styles and
compositions. These vignettes are then laced together, sometimes in a jagged
manner, within a loose song structure to create a piece which is cohesive and
listenable despite all this seemingly piecemeal composition work..
track, Set the Pacific on Fire, is a
great first single and lead-in to the new style the band are trying to
cultivate. It opens with funky Zappa-like guitars so syncopated that a beat
can’t even really be found. The style then changes with all the subtlety of a
slideshow changing from family shots to porn into a series of minor scales
played by both guitars and bass, then quickly changes again into a more melodic
verse. The song switches back and forth between these three parts, seemingly whenever
the mood strikes the band, but it is n fact a highly coordinated performance
which takes painstaking composition of all the parts and razor-sharp and
intuitive coordination by all band members. The song finally devolves into a
surprising acoustic outro, leaving the listener a bit frazzled but in awe of
what just occurred.
The rest of Exit a Hero is a study in the kinds of
limits that can be pushed when dealing with the fairly rigid structure of rock.
The band’s varied approach to this study produces equally varied results. Taking What’s Mine also has some fun
guitar scales and a jam-band feel to the backing track (dare I sad Phish?). If you like surf rock, 186 and Physics of Forms
still have quite a bit of that vibe, but true to the theme of Exit a Hero, each song shifts into other
gears without a clutch just like Set the
Pacific on Fire. The overall result on this album is a fun romp through
some of the more creative ways to use indie rock and it most definitely exposes
the members of The Vigilance Committee as true progressive and experimental
musicians, not just indie rockers following a trend. Indeed, The Vigilance
Committee follow almost no trends.
In a currently very homogenous indie climate, The
Vigilance Committee combine chaotic noise funk, 60s surf rock and much more to
create a sound and a uniqueness the like of which hasn’t been seen since The
Flaming Lips or even the Pixies.
The best way to experience this exciting band is to listen, however, so check
out their video for Set the Pacific on
Fire below and stream the whole of Exit
a Hero on the band’s Bandcamp page.