Vuromantics choose their favourite albums of all time

Music has the power to change lives, trigger countless emotions and above all, make people feel truly alive. Throughout history, there have been too many iconic records and singles that have impacted on people’s life day-to-day and our latest feature aims to highlight some of these records. Each week we’ll be asking different people to contribute a short piece relating to a record that means something to them and our first feature is a belter with three members of Sheffield band Vuromantics taking on the challenge.

Fresh from a run of dates in Scotland, the band are returning to Yorkshire for a joint headline show at Dunnington Fayre on Saturday 28th July. They relentlessly tour around the UK whenever they get chance so are seasoned pros when it comes to their live set. The event can be found here www.facebook.com/events/389896448135151/  so get involved to see what they’re all about. Since we were first approached by vocalist Sam and the band, we’ve loved hearing their tunes and interviewed them back in January  – they’re locked away recording their album so expect new music and more very soon from Vuromantics.

Record of the Week with Vuromantics

Sam Christie – Vocals
TV On The Radio – Nine Types Of Light
2011

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I’ve always loved music, film and art that pushes the boundaries of what a piece of artwork is socially expected to be; work that refuses to be put in a box and reaches out into other fields. I guess an example from the world of art, would be an artist like Robert Rauschenberg, his work blurs the lines between paint, collage and sculpture. …so, with this in mind; when Vuromantics were offered the chance to write about an album that means something to us, you can see why the first album that came into my head was `TV On The Radio’s’ Nine Types Of Light.

You can image my excitement when I discovered this album many years ago, which not only stands alone as a complex and diverse audio pop adventure in its own right but also is available as hour-long feature length film with each section of the movie was created by the band whilst working alongside a different group of visual directors who collectively use the film to explore the ideas from the record.

Lyrically it’s out-there, it’s arty, complex but also simple when it needs to be, a testament to vocalist Tunde Adebimpe’s imaginative delivery and diverse vocal range. Musically the album is so outrageously good in places it baffles the brain; Sitek, Malone, Bunton and Smith’s multi-instrumental technical arrangements are lovingly weaved together with memorable choruses and hook sections whilst remaining bold, adventurous and at times in your face, but crucially not afraid to be delicate and intricate.

I’d certainly call it one of my favourite albums ever and I wouldn’t be alone, there are thousands of fans out there that would agree with me but somehow TV On The Radio have managed to maintain an element of enigma, becoming somewhat of a cult obsession rather than an all-out worldwide conquering stadium phenomenon, possibly due to the bands sporadic touring schedules and a wide range of interests outside of music. All of which just makes the die fans love them even more, stick the album on; you’ll see why!

Jake Christie – Synthesizers
Air – Moon Safari
1998

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I’m not great at writing about music, I think it’s best to let it speak for itself but what I will say is I absolutely love this record, I think it stands out as a landmark record from the past 20 years, I love that laid-back melodic feel with small bursts of electric energy on every track and really has stuck with me through the years, it still sounds as good now as it did when it was released way back in 1998!

Callum Hall – Guitar/Keyboards
Tool – 10,000 days
2006

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This has gotta be about my number 1 album of all time. It’s a crazy blend of powerful rhythms and truly insane tones, that takes you on a trip from start to finish. The production is incredible, and the music itself is simply on another level.

For a 4-piece these guys really have it locked down. Danny Carey on drums is an absolute beast and comes out with the fattest beats combined with his signature mega-tom and percussion work. The patterns he plays are intriguing and complex, without ever losing the solid grooving foundation. The drums sound huge and dynamic, taking things through sparse enigmatic sections up to enormous highs.

The bass has a distinctive sound; it’s thick and bassy yet clear and defined all at once. And the earthy grooves intertwine with the drums to create a complex rhythmic base.  Justin Chancellor has got to be one my favourite bass players, and although my playing isn’t anything like his, I’m very inspired by his invention and stylistic approach. He lays down a solid foundation and keeps things exciting and bouncing. Check out The Pot for some of the chubbiest bass playing going.

When I learned the band only use one guitarist my brain basically exploded. His playing is probably my favourite part, although what he’s doing is so far beyond my powers that I kind of can’t compute it all. He uses an enormously complicated rig to create a universe of sounds on this album. From the thin, desolate and apocalyptic cleans found in Wings for Marie, to the tight, crushing distortion in tracks like Jambi and Rosetta Stoned; this is a real tonal adventure. A particular highlight being the talk box solo in Jambi – check that track out for the essence of this album.

Maynard James Keenan is a living legend, having now basically all but given up music to run his own California vineyard. On this album however he’s at his best, navigating and guiding the listener through the stormy instrumentals with the huge range of his voice. Whether hushed and almost spoken, confidently singing, or fully belting out vocals, he blends it all together with perfection and creates songs from the madness.

I couldn’t exactly pick a best song on the album as to me it’s one to listen through from start to finish. Which by the way do, you won’t regret it! The dynamics from track to track work so well, and it flows together almost seamlessly. Most tracks are 7 mins long minimum as well, so you may as well be in for the full ride. The last track though, Viginti Tres, is very freaky. I’ve actually skipped that on most listens as it’s too scary! Something to do with aliens and Area 51. But anyway, 10,000 days is a marvel, and it’s by far my most listened to album. It’s esoteric yet accessible, heavy yet measured, and overall a real sonic exploration. And holy crap, check out some of the music videos.

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