[sic] Magazine

Vib Gyor – We Are Not An Island

This is colossal, a ridiculously strong first offering from Leeds/Barnsley based Vib Gyor , a band who, for simplicity’s sake, target a half-way point between Coldplay and Radiohead . (But we’ll come back to that.)

I think I’m getting a flavour of something John Peel felt. When asked how he found the time and courage to listen to all the demos people passed to him, Peel said (of his listening stack); “The next Elvis could be in there”.
Personally I’m not searching for Elvis or the “next” anything. These days “Next ” is usually the industry’s way of tricking us into buying Embrace . Yet it’s an odd feeling to grab from a pile of obscurity and listen to something as accomplished as We Are Not An Island. This cannot be a debut. Can it? The album has all the poise and refinement of a typical third album. The most commercial track, ‘Red Lights’ sounds as though it should feature in a primetime TV advertisement. What a chorus! Yet the disc came sans information. No sleeve notes, no press release. No wild boasts or claims to be the next last great thing.

It sounds like a classic.

Let’s come back to Coldplay and Radiohead. And here’s the thing. A lot of people will be saying ‘no please, let’s NOT’. Divisive reference points aren’t they? To many, those brand names are music’s equivalent of swear words. (In this respect maybe they’re apt because I have the feeling Vib Gyor will also divide opinions.) Do they actually sound like Chris Martin and co? Not really. For one thing Dave Fendick doesn’t sing as though he’s got a blocked nose. Radiohead then? Yes, a bit. ‘Tiny Daggers’ is a transatlantic ‘Let Down’ and ‘Rhombus Suit’ could be ‘Street Spirit’ in the hands of Muse . We can do better though. To me VG sound as though they belong to that clutch of post-millennial bands from 2003. Remember Leaves , Longview and Haven – earnest bands with soaring, radio-friendly hooks and the mildly angst-ridden content? Like Haven’s Between The Senses, We Are Not An Island is a solid, unblemished album – as polished and crafted as the gem it will undoubtedly reveal itself to be. Fendick pitches his AOR vox someplace between Starsailor’s James Walsh and Bono while the band paint the sky with assorted piano and guitars.

Sometimes I wonder if iTunes single of the week ‘Fallen’ was supposed to remind me of The Sundays?
Sometimes I wonder if the band are enjoying themselves too much to be backing such glum material?
Sometimes I wonder if I’M supposed to be enjoying myself this much?

And the name? I groaned at first thinking it was another stupid actual name like Biffy Clyro (Perhaps there was Vib Gyor, the obscure footballer from Aberystwyth Town FC?) Actually VIB GYOR is an acronym for the hues of the spectrum. Violet, indigo etc. That’s ‘visible light’ to you and me.
As such it’s also Roygbiv (ace Boards of Canada song) backwards. But it’s still Vib Gyor at the end of the day. Hmmm? Perhaps I’m being crass but names are important. I’ll ask – what’s your favourite Maurice Micklewhite movie? (Wiki it) Would The Joshua Tree have sold 25 million if U2 had named themselves something daft?

Then again Prefab Sprout did pretty well.

Flip a coin then. Because I can see VG’s career falling one of two ways. If they do a ‘Haven’, we’ll all proclaim them criminally ignored. Alternatively if they ignite the imaginations of the record buying public it won’t be long before people start throwing the ‘bland’ word around. Heads we win, tails they lose. We’re a fickle lot, British music fans – arch contrarians yet with the strongest of herd mentalities. (Think about it) Here’s a novel idea. Let’s try thinking for ourselves. These are crafted, impassioned, arena-epic songs and if you want my ten cents worth the only thing that can hold VG back…
… is us.