Suited well for a leisurely Sunday afternoon, Vinyl Sunday’s self-titled EP Vinyl Sunday embodies an authentic blend of musical styles and genres while using a plethora of instruments and voices. Hints of jazz, blues, folk and gospel permeate the record collectively evincing flavors from geographical regions such as New Orleans, Detroit and little-known towns in the backcountry of Alabama, making the album accessible to a wide audience of listeners.
The opening track on the EP “Honey or High Water” incorporates classic steel guitar riffing into a chorus of guitars, piano and percussion, which gives the song a slight twang, though not enough to become distasteful. The lead vocals, as well as the background vocals, are sweet and relaxed, giving the tune a pleasant flow without descending into mellow monotony.
The next track “Blue Mountain”, a wistful ballad, is much more melodic towards the beginning of the song before spiraling into a jazzy, bar-swing instrumental section featuring trumpet, cello and light additions from strumming guitars and piano. The track alternates between the two modes, finishing out softly and leading into the dark, reflective intro of “Leave A Whisper.” Although the piano ballad eventually employs a full band, the plaintive, longing vocals end up sustaining much of the song’s energy.
With ukulele, tribal percussion and playful piano riffs, “Happily Ever After” feels like a short, amusing jaunt to a tropical island. The vocals, while present, are not forceful or very loud, giving the song an extremely relaxing, tranquil feel. The unique combination of zeal and peace exuded in this song make it one of the EP’s best moments.
The final two songs make use of new (for the EP) instruments, namely a saxophone in “Procession” and a flute in “Whatever, Wherever.” Other than that, the last two tracks are what any listener would expect given the first four tracks of the EP, and while they are similarly entertaining as the earlier songs on the EP, the similarity in sound causes them to feel rather repetitious. This is not to say that the value of the album as a whole is impacted significantly; however, branching out from one particular sound usually improves a band’s appeal, and the same is true for Vinyl Sunday.
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