On Sunday I finally saw The Vacant Lots live and I’m still in some sort of daze from amazing it was. I reckon anyone who has seen them live or just loves their music will know exactly what I mean. I sometimes find after going to a show, listening to the band afterwards doesn’t always feel right, as if something was missing. Fortunately this did not happen on Sunday and I’ve been constantly listening to The Vacant Lots.
This Friday their Berlin EP will be released. The record is produced (and mixed) by Anton Newcombe. To have a band I love work with someone I hugely admire is, as a fan, a bloody brilliant thing. It’s perfect, just utterly perfect. Many years ago when I was doing a work placement at a music magazine, I was in the same room as the editor as he interviewed Anton on the phone. We both bonded over our love for him and afterwards were both just in awe of what happened. Fortunately I am shy enough to keep my gob shut and didn’t not chime in with some questions of my own.
The Berlin EP perfectly picks up from where Departure left us. They remain loyal to the sound that I fell in love with a few years ago. The EP is made up of 4 songs that send the listener (regardless of how big a fan they are) into a daze, into a trance. You can shut the world off when you play this record. It takes you to the belly of an underworld that is yet to be found by others. Maybe it truly sums up the sound of Berlin, maybe it sums up the sound and images in your mind. Whatever it sums up, just let it take you there.
The psychedelic artwork is ideal to gaze at as you listen to the songs, especially on Promise Me. The sound that they have created is projected beautifully from Anton’s production. As I listen back to the songs, I can’t help but feel that nobody else but Anton could get this sound. I know people say that perfection doesn’t exist, but they’ve clearly never listened to The Vacant Lots.
The Vacant Lots have a few more shows left in Europe but unfortunately copies of the Berlin EP have sold out. I say unfortunately but I’m proud of them and really happy for them. The Berlin EP is a body of work that oozes dedication, blood, sweat, hours, fears and tears. The songs may torment you but they may also soothe you- just like Departure did. I’ve never been to Berlin, I sometimes feel like the only person in the world who hasn’t, but this record makes me feel like I have and that it is home. Home can be whatever you create in your mind and heart. It can also be wherever a band or record takes you. It’s a feeling, and you can feel it as many times as you want.
Some bands sound better in certain settings, and I think The Vacant Lots are a band that you can carry with you anywhere you go. They are perfect to listen to at 7:30am on the way to work or at 4am when you cannot sleep. They let you dream in your own way. They thrash the insides of your mind with their hypnotic sound. I’ve said it before, but they are one of those bands that make you wish you were in band. They leave you with this feeling as if you just have to do something. But take your time to figure it out.
As mentioned, the Berlin EP is sold out on tour but you might be able to get some copies from Cargo Records if you live in Europe/UK and Forced Exposure if you’re in the states. In my mind they are one of the greatest bands since Suicide. They tear down walls of what is deemed as “normal” or “typical.” On the Berlin EP, Land is the track that really evokes this and is probably one of my favourite songs I’ve heard this year. Not just lyrically do I adore it but the music is so moving. They have this wonderfully ability to tap into your mind, and they do it so beautifully on Land.
Go see them the next time they play near you and allow every part of you to be moved.