Vibrolux: self-titled

Last Beat

I suppose if the title of this review caught your eye, then you’ve come here expecting something special. Well, I’m happy to say the Vibrolux have indeed creating a most magical and addictive album that contains layer upon layer of musical drama worthy of anyone’s inspection. Yet another group from the always impressive Texas music scene, Vibrolux have finally released their debut album after waiting patiently for what must have seemed like forever.

A while back, they played at SXSW and were spotted by some big cheeses. Polydor snatched them up and were ready to commence with recording, but unfortunately some inner music market turmoil decided that this was not to be, and so Vibrolux were out on their own once again. They moved back home and signed up with local label Last Beat and are now basking in the glow of their talent and hypnotic songs.

Fronted by vocalist Kim Pendleton and guitarist Paul Quigg, Vibrolux create a strange brand of music that may not catch you right from the start. It took me a number of listens for it to all suddenly hit me. When it did, I couldn’t get enough. Pendleton sports one of those throaty voices that allows her to handle all manner of emotion and style without reaching a breaking point. Quigg’s guitar is at once both lush and sinister, forging dark rock tones with just the right amount of pop shimmer on the surface. Make no mistake, this is one hell of a serious band.

The rest of the group is fleshed out with guitarist Paul Williams (Tablet), bassist Clay Pendergrass (Jackopierce), and drummer Trey Pendergrass. Together, they make a sound that is as mysterious and exciting as a train rushing past in the night. A high sense of drama and a knack for indelible hooks complete the Vibrolux formula. But nothing here is formulaic. Not the brooding opener “Holiday”, or the strange “We Love Pepsi”. Kim Pendleton plays every song in a game of high stakes that pays off every time. She can wail, she can purr, she can throw down soulfully or delicately. Sometimes she does both within a breath.

My personal favorite song here is “Hammer Head”, which sports some of the most sensual “sha-la-las” I believe I’ve ever heard. Also worth noting is the sweet pop of “Love Letters”, the blissful “Soldier”, and a cover of David Bowie’s “Win” from his Young Americans LP. Here, Vibrolux takes the song and waxes jazzy. Stunning, given the fact that most bands usually don’t touch anything post-Diamond Dogs from Bowie’s varied catalog. But here, Pendleton takes the song full throttle and places her own mark on it, breathing new life into the notes and giving them an original spin that’s well worth hearing.

If you’re the adventurous sort of music fan, then don’t let Vibrolux’ debut slip away. Truly, they are worth every ounce of whatever hype they may have formerly received. It’s good to know that they didn’t disappear over time with no reminder of who they were or what they sounded like. Fortunately, they have released this dynamic and exciting album of songs that stand by themselves as a proud example of the band’s originality. It’ll be exciting to see where the band heads next.