The band Vineyard comprised of Ryan O'Neill, Tanner Bott, Jeremy Cline, Hunter Owen and Jake Trease recently released their second EP entitled Heartland. They play rock music that has a mainstream appeal and that contains solid songwriting but they also play it safe. The structure, production and just about everything else about the album feels like a culmination of various bands you have heard playing in the background of a Volvo or an Apple commercial. You can hear fragments of bands like Phoenix and The Killers. They stick to a formula of soft verse and loud, glorious choruses but also display a couple of inspired moments.
The opener “Van Gogh” gets down to business quickly. The instrumental parts are simple but effective for the most part. It’s obvious that the band is mostly concerned with serving you a fully trimmed song with no extra fat. There is nothing wrong with the song. It’s catchy and the production is solid but at the same time it sounds like pre-packaged U2 song. Some people like songs delivered that way but I usually prefer a bit of slop.
As the EP progresses all the songs are delivered in the same manner. They are extremely thought out and sticking to a sound that feels ready to hit the airwaves of an FM station. Suffice it to say if you like one song you will like them all. Some of the band’s strongest moments are on the song “Look In The Mirror” which contains dance worthy delayed guitar and funky bass.
Lyrically, the songs are straightforward and lacking any ambiguous poetry or puns. On “Move On” the vocalist sings, “years have passed and I'm still here waiting for the air to clear, one way streets won't lead to where I want to go” and “It’s Ok and it’s alright I know I’ll be just fine It’s been a long road full of sorrow but it’s time to move on”. So the lyrics don’t have the depth you would expect from Thom Yorke or Colin Meloy but they fit in just about perfect if want a ubiquitous single that you would consider playing during your town’s Fourth of July fireworks celebration.
The members of Vineyard seem to know exactly what type of music they want to play. They aren’t trying to reinvent the wheel or blend reggae with swing. Heartland contains contemporary rock songs that seamlessly merge with the mainstream.
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