Vandalays: Happy Ever After

[31 July 2006]

By Stephen Haag

We’ll do this the obvious way: Once upon a time, there was an indie rock four-piece called the Vandalays, who released an enjoyable five-song EP called Happy Ever After. It was full of cheery guitar pop tunes like the opener “Tracy” and lots of strong guitar leads from Ken Valskis. His axe sliced through “Out/In the Night” and he even sounded like a full-fledged guitar hero shredding on “Fairy Tale”. It wouldn’t be a fairy tale without some conflict, though, and the band battled the ogre of sameness to a draw—all the songs were about three minutes long and arranged nearly identically. Sure, the songs were good, but they’d leave you wishing there was a little bit more variety. Too, drummer Dave Franco’s overreliance on the hi-hat proved to be a deterrent was well, especially on the otherwise catchy “Ramona” and “Fairy Tale”.  As shiny guitar pop went, though, it showed a lot of promise and a confident, full sound you’d expect from a “bigger” band. The End.

Published at: http://www.popmatters.com/pm/review/vandalays-happy-ever-after/