The Vinyl Reprisal is a high-energy indie-rock band from the West Midlands in the UK that recently released their debut EP Graffiti. Formed in 2015, the Birmingham-based four-piece is comprised of Kris Carr (vocals), Dan Harrison (guitar), Jamie Roberts (bass) and Anthony Kelly (drums). The band soon began to establish their own sound with those Britpop and punk influences serving as strong reference points when writing and recording their own material. The year 2017 began with triumphant appearances at the Actress & Bishop and the O2 Academy 3, as well as a support slot with acclaimed Birmingham band Little Liam at the Brown Lion in the city’s Jewellery Quarter. Their performance at the Brown Lion earned praise from Ocean Colour Scene drummer Oscar Harrison who was in the audience.
Their five-track EP - recorded and produced by the band - captures the energy, attitude and catchy choruses that have been hallmarks of their live set. The EP was released on the band’s own label Santa Carla Sounds.
Graffiti opens with “I’m So Bored.” A distorted guitar arpeggio dances and whirls slowly into view atop a growing and ominous drum beat. It creates an intriguingly dark sense of foreboding. Suddenly, an exploding sequence of distorted power chords pulls me out of this creepily hypnotic trance and I’m greeted by a sound I can describe only as dark indie rock. There’s a quality to the husky and passionate vocals of lead singer Kris Carr that reminds me of ‘00s classics like The Strokes with a dose of something a little rougher and rockier. There’s something furious and intoxicating about the loud-quiet dynamic too - the growing of guitars from the verses into the exploding choruses makes for head-bang-worthy moments, but there’s still a strong melody beneath it all.
“Kill Dreams” is driven by even gruffer vocals than the opener; it feels as if The Vinyl Reprisal has slipped even further into madness, and they sound great for it. There’s a little variety in this track too as there were some shoegaze elements thrown into the mix. The eerie synth notes which ring out into the atmosphere atop the chorus were a really neat production decision. I was hoping for the song to grow and progress into something else during the latter half of the track, but I don’t think the repetition necessarily damaged the core strengths of the track.
The title track “Graffiti” is a high-energy rocker that probably brings the roof down in live performances. It’s distorted grunge-fueled madness, and it’s become the unmistakeable sound of The Vinyl Reprisal by this point in the EP. In terms of melody, it wasn’t my favorite track on the album (the opener probably holds that spot), but I can’t deny that it had a raw energy to it that must translate fantastically to a live environment. I can understand why it’s the title track, as this certainly seems to be a band which thrives on live performances.
All in all, there were certainly more positives than negatives to the sound of The Vinyl Reprisal. They’re a tight band,and their performances are furious. I thought that translated well to studio recordings at times, but there was a messy quality to some of the production. The live sound is great, but hopefully we’ll see a little more than that from them next time. It’s still undeniable that they make top notch music.
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