Vanishing Kids - Heavy Dreamer [Svart Records - 2018]Formed in Wisconsin, USA in the early 2000s Vanishing Kids are the brainchild of guitarist Jason Hartman (Jex Thoth) and vocalist/organist Nikki Drohomyreky. Growing up on a mixture of doom metal, heavy psych, alternative rock and shoegaze has led to the band developing their unique sound. The current lineup is completed by bass player Jerry Sofran (Lethal Heathen, Mirrored Image) and drummer Hart Allan Miller (Wartorn, Death Wish, Tenement). Heavy Dreamer is the bandís first full length outing in over 5 years.
Ok, to the important stuff of the music, and the album truly has its own unique sound. Listening to the record you can pull out so many diverse influences. The Cure, Lush, My Bloody Valentine, Black Sabbath, Blood Ceremony, Jex Thoth, Deep Purple, Atomic Rooster to name just a few, but at no point does it descend into pastiche, or simple hero worship. They have taken those disparate influences and melded them into something wholly their own, and with every listen Iím loving it a little more. Much of the music is a little off kilter and can on first listen sound a little strange, but after a couple of spins you become accustomed to it. Itís truly what makes this such a fine and interesting listen. It is challenging but ultimate rewards repeated listens.
The bandís overall sound is that of a loose and at times heavy rhythm section sitting in the background powering the album along while Drohomyreky and Hartman get to play and experiment over the top, their guitar and organ virtuosity carrying the album to new and exciting peaks. The compositions themselves seem at times bizarre and off kilter yet compelling and beautiful. There are many contradictions to the bandís sound, often mixing tender organ/keyboards and ethereal vocals with violent lead guitar runs to create weird musical juxtapositions that work incredibly well. The whole album has a beautiful dreamy quality to it, but despite that it still manages to pack a punch and there is always a dark side waiting to emerge from the shadows.
Standout tracks include the dark shoegaze of Mockingbird, the more traditional doom sound of Reaper, the beautiful shimmery electro-pop meets doom metal of Rainbows and the album closer Magnetic Magenta Blue, an epic sounding slab of cosmic space rock that eschews the heavier guitar sound of the rest of the album in favour of something more understated for the first three minutes or so before once again exploding to life and bringing the album to its conclusion with some of the finest guitar playing Iíve heard all year.
Heavy Dreamers may not be an album for all, but I would recommend that everyone gives it a listen. The fact it has such a unique sound has floored me. Itís not often I hear something that sounds so different to everything else out there that I just want to shout it from the roof tops. Who will like this, well in my opinion everyone should it takes everything I love about music and questions it, turns it inside out and makes something new, different, unique and yet very familiar. This may sound like some kind of black magic and perhaps it is? Whatever, Vanishing Kids have produced one of the albums of the year, beautiful, breathtaking, brutal, and down right brilliant. Heavy Dreamer has shot to the top of my album of the year list.Darren Charles