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REVIEW: Stranger – Vistas.

Sometimes in music as in sport, to be successful you need good timing and the ability to take your chances when they present themselves. Edinburgh trio Vistas appear to have this in their locker. While others dithered during this Covid-19 ravaged summer, Vistas seized the opportunity and released their debut studio album Everything Changes In The End. Their endeavours were rewarded with a widely acclaimed number one independent album.

Like the contenders they are, Vistas are aware of the importance of momentum and so to keep the pressure on they have sprung the surprise release of a new single Stranger. Recorded during the same sessions as the album, Stranger never made the final cut. Not for reasons of quality, apparently it just didn’t fit right anywhere with the flow of the album. If you’re a fan of the album, then you’ll love this single – Stranger fits right in there with the bands previous releases like Tigerblood and 15 years. Vistas have a pacy, energetic, vivid and mildly anthemic indie-guitar sound. Favourable comparisons have been made with the likes of The Wombats, The Strokes and Circa Waves.

The main theme of Stranger is a timely topic too. It’s about the transient nature of relationships and how you can never be sure if you really know someone, especially when you haven’t seen them for a while. If I had to pick some lyrics that best sum-up the subject matter of Stranger, I’d opt for these taken from the bridge section of the song: ‘It’s been months since we’ve spoken, I hope that you don’t feel broken. Who am I kidding, you want to lose touch, was I not enough?’

The song starts with a metronomic drum beat and a punchy little guitar riff from Dylan Rush, not a hay-maker riff, more of a constant jab kind of riff. Jamie Low’s bright, bouncy bass joins in before Prentice Robertson’s distinctive higher range, Caladonian-tinged vocals arrive: ‘I’ll be over in five, and I promise I’ll be sober.’ It’s the type of song that you should be happily jumping up and down to while wearing your bucket hat in a sunny field somewhere.

In the hand’s of someone else, Stranger could sound like an angry, angsty, break-up on social media, but Robertson’s higher vocal range and Rush’s accompanying use of the lower end of the guitar’s neck, lend a very reasoned feel to the song. Even the building crescendo before the final chorus feels not like a rising in tension, but more of a drawing towards a reasoned conclusion – something we need more of.

Stranger is light on its feet, moves well, and has stinging little jab. Judge’s decision – a unanimous points victory.

Pre-order Before Everything Changed right here from Blood Records

Ian Dunphy.

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