MY VITRIOL Always: Your Way (Infectious)
MY VITRIOL Finelines (Infectious)
These are the new single and debut album respectively from My Vitriol, a young quartet who seem utterly in thrall to the nineties revival. Their music appears to draw heavily on the genre derisively known as shoegazing, a trick that, even at the height of its popularity, was notoriously difficult to pull off with any degree of success. For every Ride or My Bloody Valentine there appeared to be a million Chapterhouses or Curves, bands that managed to approximate the hollow shell of the shoegazing sound but balked at reconstructing the adrenaline-rush brilliance that the former bands' raging, effects-pedal overload could boast on a good day.
Almost inevitably, My Vitriol land squarely in the second camp. They've obviously tried very hard - the guitar squall and angst-ridden lyrics are present and correct, there are brief interludes between some of the songs to bind the album into a more cohesive whole (which boast jocular titles such as "C.O.R. [Critic Orientated Rock]" - they wish!) and the presence on the single of a workmanlike cover of notoriously prolific lo-fi overlords Guided By Voices' "Game Of Pricks" suggests a refreshingly broad reading list. But there's nothing here that rises above the generic 'opening-band-on-first-day-of-festival-on-second-stage' plod of My Vitriol's music, nothing to suggest bold new directions in music, nothing that will come as a surprise to anybody who has already lived through shoegazing once.MY VITRIOL Finelines & Between The Lines (Infectious)
"Finelines & Between The Lines" is My Vitriol's debut album, "Finelines", presented in remixed form for the American market, presumably to give the band's peculiar brand of shoegazing pastiches some kind of currency in the land of nu-metal, and a bonus disc of b-sides, covers and alternate versions. Without scrupulously A/B-ing the two versions of the album , this new mix does seem a bit snappier and punchier, even when the modifications aren't obvious (unlike, for example, the vinyl crackle and hiss that now introduces "Falling Off The Floor"). And "C.O.R." has lost its "Critic-Orientated-Rock" subtitle, perhaps a mark of new-found humility as the band prepare to tackle a notoriously difficult market. Certainly "Finelines" is now an improved proposition - less Chapterhouse, more Smashing Pumpkins - though, even at their ropiest, the back catalogues of Ride and My Bloody Valentine, for example, smash this stuff into smithereens.
Over on "Between The Lines", "Vapour Trails" comes on like a demo of Manic Street Preachers' "Dead Martyrs" recorded in a hornets' nest before collapsing into a typically characterless My Vitriol song, and a measure of clarity in what sounds conspicuously electrified for an acoustic version of "Losing Touch" allows intriguing lines such as "Last chance for the modern man" to surface from the noise for the first time. Their Madonna-goes-grunge cover of "Oh Father" is My Vitriol's most interesting artistic experiment yet, albeit one slightly overshadowed by Ciccone Youth's year-dot reconstruction of "Into The Groove(y)". And Guided By Voices' "Game Of Pricks" shows what the band can do when handed a decent tune, although their shiny, streamlined version lacks the scuzzy, knockabout charm of the original.
So it's different, arguably marginally better, and there's more of it. If you're a My Vitriol fan that's all the justification you need. Otherwise, this kind of music has been done far better long before now.