Vanna- And They Came Baring Bones review
The past 2 years haven’t been easy on Boston, MA’s Vanna. Since their 2009 sophomore album ‘A New Hope,’ the band has gone through some pretty big changes that might have ended lesser bands. First was the departure of their long time vocalist Chris Preece who was replaced by former Seeker Destroyer front man Davey Muise and followed by their move from Epitaph Records to Artery Recordings.
In 2010, fans were treated to their first taste of the new line up in the form of ‘The Honest Hearts’ EP which proved that they had not only persevered through some chaotic times but come out of it as a stronger unit.
Now, a year later Vanna has returned with ‘And They Came Baring Bones,’ a record that finds them expanding their range of influences while still maintaining the core elements that make their sound unquestionably their own.
But what really separates ATCBB from the rest of the band’s discography is how smartly layered it is, hinting at a more grandiose atmosphere than anything we‘ve heard from them before. With each listen, you’ll discover more and more things that may have previously gone ignored. Whether it’s guitarist Evan Pharmaki’s epic clean vocals or the spacey guitar passages, you’ll notice that Vanna was more interested in writing moving pieces of music rather than strictly banging your head this time around.
But that’s not to say that this isn’t a heavy record. Opener ‘Black Bones’ is bursting with pissed off adrenaline and sounds almost as if Davey Muise is about to come through your speakers and punch you in the throat:
“Stare at the face of determination. Gaze into perfection. I, won’t be stopped. I, want the ground to give way, the horizon to break. I, want the mountains removed, swallow the sea with it too.”
‘Breathing At The Bottom’ proves to be another standout track and is a really good example of just how dark this record is compared to the last one. Pharmaki’s melodic vocals sound better than ever here in juxtaposition to Musie’s viciousness and the discordant guitars. Add some lyrics about the end of everything and you’ve got yourself the perfect soundtrack to the apocalypse.
One of the first tracks released in promotion of the album was ’Scarlet Shroud,’ which is another great showcase of Pharmaki’s vocals and strangely contains some parts that remind me of something Brand New might have written back in the day.
‘Careless Men Lead Careless Lives’ is a rager from start to finish and contains the only guest vocals to be heard courtesy of The Greenery front man Matt Lanners.
The album closes with the sombre ‘White Light,’ a unique song that starts off slow and melodic and builds into a cacophony of screams and dissonant guitars. It’s a fitting conclusion to the album and as the last cymbal crash echoes out you just might find yourself hitting the replay button immediately afterwards.
Producer Matt Goldman (The Chariot, Underoath, Oceana) deserves quite a bit of credit here as well. His production has always been top notch and you can really tell his ideas do not go ignored by the band’s he works with, and Vanna is no exception. The end result? One of the best post-hardcore releases in quite some time and one of my favourite records released this year.