Aleksandar Vrhovec is certainly a name that we have come across on this site before. We have encountered his more accessible and perhaps even chart friendly side with LucidFer and the more intricate and progressive moments with Acid Hags. And if, as you step from one to the other, you find yourself moving into ever more experimental realms, Reset is the stepping stone that takes you even further into more intriguing and wonderfully strange sonic landscapes.
Pop music with a rock and roll spine? Rock music with plenty of funky grooves? Sassy contemporary blues with a soulful kiss? Indie music which has grown up and stopped checking its hair in the mirror? Well, how about we accept that LucidFer is all of that and more and we just call it music, and the simply titled Vol 1 is all the proof you are going to need. And that is the art really, to not worry about where the generic boundaries are and just get on with the job of writing great songs and this is indeed a collection of great songs. Mixing immediate and accessible guitar hooks with deft picking, simple but never simplistic beats and wonderfully vocal deliveries that blends soulfulness and a raw edge, the right balance of groove and grunt, slickness and sass…its all there. That is the key to what this Croatian quartet does. Sounds simple doesn’t it?
In a world of pre-packaged, written to order, chart to bargain bin dross, it reminds us that there are other options available, that pop music can be built around integrity and clever construction. It also reminds us that not all rock music has to be centred on adolescent and “how tough do I look” poses…because, of course, the answer is “not very!” Album opener Alone rocks with the best of them and pops to perfection because it has soul and groove to spare, it also has wide appeal, discerning music fans will admire the way it is put together and mainstream pop fans will just want to dance the night away to its slinky rhythms.
Wrong Side is a beguiling and brooding number with a dark Doorsian undercurrent, I Rode With Death is a dystopian jazz-rock jam and Sailing offers the cool balladic moment. It’s a deft collection of songs, the lead release Island in The Sun takes a fairly considered route, building up on funky guitar rhythms, added beats and deft lead lines, always groovy and matching deft playing with suitably sunshine vibes. It’s a great calling card and lays out just how great the songwriting is. Come for the single, stay for the album!
There isn’t much new under the musical sun, and what is going on here is hardly new either…when you break down the building blocks that they are working with but it shows that even along the familiar and well-trodden musical pathways there is still more than enough room to be original as well as highly accessible. It isn’t always about breaking new ground, sometimes it is good enough to revisit old musical comfort zones, give them a new lick of paint, polish things up a bit and come out with songs that work just because the fundamentals are spot on. No gimmicks, no fashion statements, just great music for the sake of great music. Isn’t that how it should be anyway?