There’s a good chunk of people in the world who will love to tell you that working with your spouse is a bad idea. Time and again, that musty old theory has been proven wrong and will be once more with Victor’s Door and their debut album Hiccups which is fearlessly lead by Emily Landwehr, who is an accomplished lead vocalist as well as guitarist and pianist. She is married to drummer Daniel Landwehr and backed up with vocals and bass from Jack Stanek.
The group started as a duo being that the Landwehrs have known each other since high school. They had been writing music together and performing live and decided they wanted to build upon their sound. This is what lead to the inclusion of Stanek and now with the trio united, they were able to produce their first album. I love that there’s not a whole lot of flash to their story. It just works and so does the music.
The music of Victor’s Door settles comfortably into that indie pop/rock spectrum. Electric guitar and synth sounds keep them modern and make the songs for the most part a lighter fare. There is also the presence of the piano, which is well utilized and does help set the band’s music apart in today’s vast market. On occasion, they’re able to bring in a touch of grit with their guitar and even synth sounds which is a welcomed change up.
The track that stood out to me the most musically was “Afraid of Cake” which delved into a grimy and bizarre area toward the end and it became my favorite track. Overall, the music on this album maintains a pop of fun liveliness at all times.
I want to take a moment to acknowledge Landwehr’s fabulous voice. Her vocals is one of the key components that grounds the music, making it more than just synth pop. Strong, not afraid to experiment by getting a little gruff or weird. She is also armed with top notch lyrics that are cool, conversational and often cheeky. “Porcelain” is an excellent example of the kind of lyrical magic the group has at their disposal.
It was reading that their recording process taught the group a lot. They recorded with the intention of capturing a live sound. The audio gives the vibe of an intimate show, especially when it comes to the vocals which should be the star. There were excellent professional touches added that kept everything clean and crisp and allowed the subtle complexities to come through.
This band features excellent musicians, incredible vocals and damn fine lyrics. I think their one slight Achilles heel is in the musical arrangements. The music is great, fits in with the times and the piano is a brilliant additive. However, the mood and tone on most of the tracks were a little too homogenized for me. They got stuck in a rut that isn’t terrible to hear at all, but definitely could have used some diversity.
Hiccups is a solid debut album for this band and they should be proud. They made all the right moves and invested where they needed to. I want to congratulate them on their great work and I will be looking out for what comes next.
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