Vistas' 'Everything Changes in the End' Is Catchy and Fun Guitar Rock

Photo: Courtesy of Grandstand Media

Vistas' debut, Everything Changes in the End, features bright rock music that pulls influences from power-pop and indie rock.

Everything Changes in the End


29 May 2020

Vistas are a trio hailing from Edinburgh, Scotland, consisting of vocalist Prentice Robertson, guitarist Dylan Rush, and bassist Jamie Law. It's always interesting when a band is missing a key instrument or two in their roster lineup. Their debut album, Everything Changes in the End, is a chunk of bright rock music that mainly pulls influences from power-pop and indie rock. The album includes drums and at least a little bit of synth on nearly every track. There is clearly a story there, but for now, in the era of digital releases where liner notes are sometimes hard to come by, Vistas is a trio without an official drummer or keyboardist.

The album begins with a 40-second "Intro" that's just a slow fade-up into the title track "Everything Changes in the End". This song has a simple but strong bassline and steady drumming. Robertson's vocals are energetic, while the guitar and synths chime and shimmer in the background. The song isn't groundbreaking, and it isn't an instant earworm, but it's upbeat and enjoyable. This trend continues into the next song, "Teenage Blues", which starts with loud vocals and quiet instruments until exploding into the pre-chorus after 30 seconds and then into the real chorus directly after. There are driving drums and "You ooo" backing vocals in the chorus, and it's equally upbeat and enjoyable.

That is essentially the formula Vistas follows throughout the record. Sometimes their influences are more specific. "15 Years" uses the same fuzzed-out, ringing guitar and backbeat-heavy drums as the Strokes' "Last Nite", which itself took the sound from Tom Petty's "American Girl." It's a rock-solid base for a song, but more than a little familiar. The boisterous, wordless gang vocals and hard-charging, noisy chorus of "The Love You Give" recalls a poppier version of fellow Scots Dananananaykroyd.

At times the band does change things up slightly. "Sucker" slows down the tempo a bit, which allows the refrain to be drawn out for maximum impact. It also features a break with repeated "Hey! Hey!" shouts and even a brief guitar solo. "Tigerblood", on the other hand, starts at full blast, featuring a prominent theremin-like synth line. Then everything but the drums drops out while the vocals drop in for the first verse, and guitars and synths come back gradually. Once the song hits the chorus, it has a distinctive sound because the synth doubles the vocals. It's an interesting track because it's maybe the hardest-rocking song on an album full of big rock songs but also the most synth-heavy. Synth-rock is a good sound for the band.

Vistas take other minor steps to keep every song from sounding like a virtual clone. "Shout" has a disco hi-hat beat that gives it more of a dance groove, although the shouted gang vocals keep it right in the band's wheelhouse. "Summer" uses long, decaying guitar notes and big beat drums to go in a poppy, U2-lite direction. Album closer "November" takes its time, building slowly from a quiet beginning of just vocals and muted guitar to a full band song. Even when the bass and drums first come in, their playing is limited for an entire verse. It isn't until after the second chorus, around the 2:30 mark, that the song really opens up. Musically, it's one of the more interesting songs on the album, but melodically it lacks a bit. That is particularly noticeable after the guitar solo that anchors the full band section. From here, the song essentially finishes with a two-minute outro jam that isn't all that compelling.

Everything Changes in the End is an entertaining album. The band knows their way around big pop hooks and catchy guitar lines. Because of this, the album doesn't get boring even when the songs start to run together a bit. There's a solid musical foundation here, but it feels like Vistas needs a bit more seasoning as songwriters and players. Right now, they are doing a solid version of pretty typical indie rock with some power-pop thrown in, and that is right up my alley as a listener. But other than "Tigerblood", with its wacky, distinctive synth sound, most of these songs don't quite have the stickiness to make them memorable once the album is over.






'We're Not Here to Entertain' Is Not Here to Break the Cycle of Punk's Failures

Even as it irritates me, Kevin Mattson's We're Not Here to Entertain is worth reading because it has so much direct relevance to American punks operating today.


Uncensored 'Native Son' (1951) Is True to Richard Wright's Work

Compared to the two film versions of Native Son in more recent times, the 1951 version more acutely captures the race-driven existential dread at the heart of Richard Wright's masterwork.


3 Pairs of Boots Celebrate Wandering on "Everywhere I Go" (premiere)

3 Pairs of Boots are releasing Long Rider in January 2021. The record demonstrates the pair's unmistakable chemistry and honing of their Americana-driven sound, as evidenced by the single, "Everywhere I Go".


'World War 3 Illustrated #51: The World We Are Fighting For'

World War 3 Illustrated #51 displays an eclectic range of artists united in their call to save democracy from rising fascism.


Tiphanie Doucet's "You and I" Is an Exercise in Pastoral Poignancy (premiere)

French singer-songwriter Tiphanie Doucet gives a glimpse of her upcoming EP, Painted Blue, via the sublimely sentimental ode, "You and I".


PM Picks Playlist 3: WEIRDO, Psychobuildings, Lili Pistorius

PopMatters Picks Playlist features the electropop of WEIRDO, Brooklyn chillwavers Psychobuildings, the clever alt-pop of Lili Pistorius, visceral post-punk from Sapphire Blues, Team Solo's ska-pop confection, and dubby beats from Ink Project.

By the Book

The Story of Life in 10 1/2 Species (excerpt)

If an alien visitor were to collect ten souvenir life forms to represent life on earth, which would they be? This excerpt of Marianne Taylor's The Story of Life in 10 and a Half Species explores in text and photos the tiny but powerful earthling, the virus.

Marianne Taylor

Exploitation Shenanigans 'Test Tube Babies' and 'Guilty Parents' Contend with the Aftermath

As with so many of these movies about daughters who go astray, Test Tube Babies blames the uptight mothers who never told them about S-E-X. Meanwhile, Guilty Parents exploits poor impulse control and chorus girls showing their underwear.


Deftones Pull a Late-Career Rabbit Out of a Hat with 'Ohms'

Twenty years removed from Deftones' debut album, the iconic alt-metal outfit gel more than ever and discover their poise on Ohms.


Arcade Fire's Will Butler Personalizes History on 'Generations'

Arcade Fire's Will Butler creates bouncy, infectious rhythms and covers them with socially responsible, cerebral lyrics about American life past and present on Generations.


What 'O Brother, Where Art Thou?' Gets Right (and Wrong) About America

Telling the tale of the cyclops through the lens of high and low culture, in O'Brother, Where Art Thou? the Coens hammer home a fatalistic criticism about the ways that commerce, violence, and cosmetic Christianity prevail in American society .


Thelonious Monk's Recently Unearthed 'Palo Alto' Is a Stellar Posthumous Live Set

With a backstory as exhilarating as the music itself, a Thelonious Monk concert recorded at a California high school in 1968 is a rare treat for jazz fans.


Jonnine's 'Blue Hills' Is an Intimate Collection of Half-Awake Pop Songs

What sets experimental pop's Jonnine apart on Blue Hills is her attention to detail, her poetic lyricism, and the indelibly personal touch her sound bears.


Renegade Connection's Gary Asquith Indulges in Creative Tension

From Renegade Soundwave to Renegade Connection, electronic legend Gary Asquith talks about how he continues to produce infectiously innovative music.


A Certain Ratio Return with a Message of Hope on 'ACR Loco'

Inspired by 2019's career-spanning box set, legendary Manchester post-punkers A Certain Ratio return with their first new album in 12 years, ACR Loco.


Oscar Hijuelos' 'Mambo Kings Play the Songs of Love' Dances On

Oscar Hijuelos' dizzyingly ambitious foot-tapping family epic, Mambo Kings Play the Songs of Love, opened the door for Latinx writers to tell their stories in all their richness.


PM Picks Playlist 2: Bamboo Smoke, LIA ICES, SOUNDQ

PopMatters Picks Playlist features the electropop of Bamboo Smoke, LIA ICES' stunning dream folk, Polish producer SOUNDQ, the indie pop of Pylon Heights, a timely message from Exit Kid, and Natalie McCool's latest alt-pop banger.


'Lost Girls and Love Hotels' and Finding Comfort in Sadness

William Olsson's Lost Girls and Love Hotels finds optimism in its message that life tears us apart and puts us back together again differently.

Collapse Expand Reviews

Collapse Expand Features

PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.