Volcanic Spirit is the project name last used for a basement demo recorded back in 2008 by Dan Vecchio. On guitar and vocals, his brother on bass, and a longtime friend on the drums, the band dissolved and went their separate ways not long after that initial recording. Vecchio continued writing and recording solo demos over the next ten years before entering the studio again in May of 2019. With songs already written (some demos completed the previous year, and some finished earlier that spring), Volcanic Spirit came together and had their first-ever professional recording experience, with another one taking place in the summer at Mammoth Recording Studio in Buffalo, NY. With valuable musical contributions from bassist Nate Nimetz and drummer John Marano, the songs breathed new life. The six songs on the EP represent both the wonder of a fresh start and new recording experience, as well as a long-overdue release, envisioned by a songwriter whose musical journey began many years ago. Laden with guitar hooks, lead lines, groovy bass riffs and solid, swinging drumming, The Great Abyss features songs that center around themes of love and previous relationships lyrically, and around jazzy, progressive alternative arrangements musically. As a whole, they all have a dreamy vibe, reminiscent of bands like Turnover and Beach House, as well as ’70s love song influences.
The opening tune, titled the same as the EP, is a refreshing contemporary sound mixing dream pop, something called “bedroom pop” and indie. The offbeat rhythm is really what makes this song unique in its own way, as well as a lovely balance between the warm, smoothness of Nimetz’s bass and Vecchio’s light, airy guitar. “One More Time” carries on that lighter style and sound even more. The one short song on the EP offers a slow pace and rumbling drums by Morano. This song really captivated me, but I wish it would have went on longer, because I loved the melody and its mood. “Where We Used to Go” features a dynamic mix of high-end guitar chords, low end bass with a slight fuzz and crisp, light action on the hi-hats. I liked the band’s decision to fade this out as well. Overall, a very likable song and one I would recommend, if you only have time to listen to one song.
OK, scratch that – I’d also recommend “Daydream in the Moonlight” simply because it’s another likable song. For me, it has a little of that nostalgic sound of romantic ballads from the early ‘80s. The bass line is what really grabbed me, but also the guitar solo. Beautiful stuff, man. “Weightlessness” sounds just like the title suggests – a floating, dreamy pop style with lyrics to match. I just loved how this song branched out slowly and then burst into more layered sounds as the drums jumped in. This one was meant to be turned up loud. Another great decision by the trio to fade out this number after a climatic build in its middle section. The last tune “Love is a Vibe” sounds like the quintessential love song for slow dancing and romancing. The ‘vibe’ here has just the right mix of slow, groovy melodies and hints of soulful, R&B sensibilities.
All in all, it amazes me how much sound and finesse can happen between three guys and their instruments. Volcanic Spirit makes music worth listening to. Perhaps it was the chosen keys they decided to play in or the melodies or the tender structures in which each song was built upon. Either way, this New York trio has fantastic chemistry and I hope to hear more soon.
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