Volbs is the solo project of Nick Vollbrecht, who is based in Erie, Pennsylvania. This was a fun indie exercise for Vollbrecht, who was once the lead guitarist and songwriter for the progressive rock band Jivan. He decided he wanted to carve out his own path. The project began on New Year’s Day of 2016. During the past year, when he wasn’t studying hard at school, this impressive songwriter would work on his album. He’s put out a few shorter releases already and seems to be unstoppable; he’s constantly and continuously releasing new, improved work.
This latest nine-track lo-fi release entitled Yuri opens with “Grey.” Psychedelic, processed, transcendent and soothing electric guitar chords progress in a catching, melancholic progression as tender, emotive vocals overlap the trippy, otherworldly chaos. It’s both a foreign and alien piece which disappears into the cosmos and an intimate, clear performance simultaneously. That being said there is a lot of work that could have been done in the production department.
Vollbrecht manages to pour his heart out in a very personal, vulnerable sense and yet the music feels as if it’s something more than human; it feels like a space-fueled odyssey into the void. Sleek, addictive, sliding guitar solos echo somewhere behind the trippy, powerful wall of distorted power chords, closing the track on a crushing note.
“Gertrude McFuzz” is a more clear-cut, straightforward rock track. Brutal, crunchy and yet uplifting electric power chords chug and whir in the forefront of the track. Laden with riffs and raw energy, at times I felt that Vollbrecht’s vocals were perhaps a little too timid, but that doesn’t mean they were necessarily bad.
Vollbrecht portrays raw emotion and tenderness, but sometimes a little more energy is needed for a more electrifying, powerful, rock-fueled track. It’s all about understanding how to combine vocals with the instrumental to which these are matched. Piercing solos and punchy melodies, however, still carry this track into the reaches of anthem status.
“Crash Landing” takes a quieter and highly sentimental approach. This suits Vollbrecht’s vocals, as he has the opportunity to really hone into his emotive capacities. He pushes his voice into its most tender depths, really stretching for meaning in every last word. Clean electric guitar picking patterns serve as the backdrop to this soothing, sleek ballad. Unexpected falsetto was a welcome surprise in this track, as Vollbrecht proved that there are numerous possible and diverse vocal styles this impressive and talented musician can master.
All in all, this is a solid piece of work for a solo singer/songwriter who is still in the early days of songwriting. On a solo basis, making music is a heck of a lot harder than it is in a band; there’s nobody else on whom one can rely. Vollbrecht has achieved a lot by himself, and I look forward to seeing what he will achieve next. He should really hone in on the emotive, softer elements of his music, as this is where his talent shows through.
We are dedicated to informing the public about the different types of independent music that is available for your listening pleasure as well as giving the artist a professional critique from a seasoned music geek. We critique a wide variety of niche genres like experimental, IDM, electronic, ambient, shoegaze and much more.
Are you one of our faithful visitors who enjoys our website? Like us on Facebook