Although ‘vega’ is defined as ‘the brightest star in the constellation Lyra,’ alternative pop-rockers Vega4 fall far from the mark of luster with their Columbia Records’ debut ‘You and Others.’
‘You and Me.’ The opening track, immediately gets your attention with its mid-tempo dance groove and the angelic voice of lead vocalist Johnny McDald, accented by a New-Wave synthesizer. You can’t help let a small grin of embarrassment escape the corner of your mouth at the high school homecoming-game flashback chorus, ‘Going out and laughing at nothing. / Drinking, kissing, pushing and shoving.’
Vega4 continues its anthem-like balladry with ‘Traffic Jam,’ which hooks listeners with a calming downbeat and imagery of a train wreck in a garden. The soft vocal accompaniment conjures a closed-eyed congregation raising their arms as one in hopes that someone will pull them out of the horrible mess that is bumper-to-bumper traffic. Indeed, the repetitiveness of the song makes it seem as if the band wrote it to kill time while stuck in rush-hour traffic on the 405.
The third track, ‘Tearing Me Apart,’ may prompt some listeners to check the CD to see if the first song of its album is actually 10 minutes long. The ultra-catchy hook should have some pop music producers’ eyes wide open to see if the band can improve its music-writing skills. This song is yet another ode to McDald’s delicate voice, but slightly satisfying is the addition of a finger-tapping distorted guitar breakdown.
The Irish/Canadian/New Zealand collective put on its cowboy boots and hats for ‘You,’ aiming at quasi-country audiences. With its twangy lead guitar and lullaby acoustic rhythm, Vega4 could give Tim McGraw a run for his money. On second thought, maybe not.
‘Paper Cuts’ is definitely one of the better tracks on the album. With obvious influences from the highly influential Radiohead, the song seems like an altered version of their live favorite ‘2 + 2 = 5.’ For fans of Snow Patrol-esque pop sensibilities, this may be the album for you. Vega4 will be concluding its current national tour in the end of May with three straight shows at Hotel Caf