Inked In Red
Icy Cold Records
Athens based four-piece Vision Video’s debut LP slots nicely into a specific vein of classic post-punk – think Chameleons UK, Red Lorry Yellow Lorry or early Modern English amongst others – that works both as upbeat dancefloor fuel and down-to-mope headphone listening. Hell, the LP closes with a faithful cover of Ski Patrol’s 1980 classic “Agent Orange”, a decision that speaks to the band’s stylistic allegiances and influences. To wit, Vision Video aren’t a band who shy away from performing uptempo rock or from displaying their goth bonafides, with Inked In Red as the highly listenable and entertaining result.
A big part of the album’s appeal is certainly in its quick pace and nimble arrangements. Take the title track for example; a nice arrangement of rolling toms and meaty bass provides a foundation for guitarist Dusty Gannon and keyboardist Emily Fredrock’s combined vocals, pushing quickly through a few toe-tapping verses and choruses before the song’s melodramatic bridge carries the track to a big, well-earned climax. That spirited and dare-I-say-it fun delivery stands in contrast to the song’s hefty lyrics about burning skies and tragedies written in red (undoubtedly informed by Gannon’s experiences as a veteran, firefighter and EMT), but the speedy delivery and full-commitment in performance make it all hang together.
Which is not to suggest that Vision Video are covering for weak material with enthusiasm. Indeed, a cut like “In My Side” could be a crossover radio hit in a slightly earlier era for indie rock, and “Kandahar” is a tremendous example of a song that addresses some very serious personal trauma with relatability and honesty. The band has songs, and have threaded the needle on solid arrangements that put the hooks up front, keeps the energy buzzing, and engagement from the listener high. Even the record’s moodiest moment “Organized Murder” brings some bounce to its minor key gloom, getting the song’s sneaky good chorus over before dissolving in a dramatic wave of ascending guitar and double-time rhythm.
It might be reductive to praise Inked In Red for working as a genre exercise as well as a trad pop- rock record, but honestly it’s the pep in Vision Video’s approach that takes the solid collection of tunes and makes them take hold. It’s a corker of a debut LP, as appealing on the 10th listen as the first. Recommended.