Not many up and coming indie acts can claim to have the Japanese music market watching their moves. This however is an accolade which Vegas Nights can lay claim to after a sampler CD distributed by a series of online record stores earlier this year, caused a stir in the Far East. Touch And Feel / It Came As No Surprise is the band’s brand spanking new debut double A side which not only introduces us to the band, but gives us a real insight into their past influences and it’s future direction. The current penchant for throwback 80’s music has seen an increase in the synth heavy pop song, so it is rare and refreshing to see a band that manages to not only cross eras but portray them with it’s musical sounds. Hailing from Stirling originally but basing themselves musically out of Glasgow, the talented five-some thrash through evocative songs that are strongly reminiscent of the ‘Madchester’ sound that groups such as The Happy Mondays and The Stone Roses so masterfully crafted.
Touch and Feel springs to life immediately and crushes through the verse/chorus/verse approach. A precise and plucky guitar riff drives the track forward and beautifully compliments the echoey almost Smiths-esque vocals and harmonies as they plead ‘Maybe if we could touch and feel tonight/Then you would be just as satisfied’. This punchy pop track certainly leaves you satisfied, landing you somewhere between Gigolo Aunts and The Lightening Seeds.
Vegas Nights list The Cure as one of their major influences and this is particularly evident in the second A side It Came As No Surprise whilst never taking away from its originality. A melodic and layered verse slowly opens the song up and has a slight tinge of The Beach Boys about it. The potent chorus is made more grandiose by the drudgeoning drums and crashing cymbals accompanying the ever present reverb-style vocals made so prominent throughout the Manchester scene. Guitarist John leaves his mark on the overall sound with a striking riff leaving you with a track that conjures up memories of The Housemartins ‘Happy Hour’.
With the band becoming ever more renowned on the gig scene in Scotland and Northern England, Touch and Feel / It Came As No Surprise is set to open them up to a much wider fan base. This E.P. is a really solid debut for the five-some and the beauty of Vegas Nights is that repetitive listens to these tracks will have you spotting a degree of influences from all genres. The band state that they were formed under the challenge of experimenting with old and new sounds in order to create inspiring and exciting music, this double A side single proves this to be the case and means we can look forward to an exciting future for the group.
Watch this space!
Touch and Feel / It Came As No Surprise is released October 26th 2009 on Platform Records.
Traditionally popular music as a whole tends to move in cycles, an ever trundling wheel of reinvention and recycling of ideas. At this particular moment in time there seems to be a glut of bands intent on reviving the sounds of the 1980’s. As is often the case though, many of the acts involved in this resurgence tend to miss the point completely, bypassing the spirit of the music which initially made it so exciting. Instead mistaking it for being all about faux romantic posturing, silly haircuts and refusing to smile for press photos. As such it's a relief to come across bands like Vegas Nights who imbue their influences with a sense of substance rather than style, coalescing them in to something with a bit of personality. There's a familiar mixture of inspirations certainly; The Cure, OMD, The Stone Roses. Unlike many of the other bands around at the moment though, they retain the slight experimental tendencies which initially made these bands so vital. It Came As No Surprise boasts what sounds ostensibly like a chorus without any lyrics, yet somehow manages to be insanely catchy. Touch and Feel bounds straight into life with anthemic harmonies reminiscent of The Beach Boys with a hint of The Housemartins. As you would imagine given such references, this very much seems like a pop song. There’s a happy go lucky façade to these songs, but there’s still an underlying cynicism which at times recalls the skewed romanticism of Ian Curtis or Edwyn Collins. The latter part of the track being characterised much more of a melancholic disposition with fragile vocals and less frenetic almost languid instrumentation, which points toward an interesting ‘other side’ to their sound. It Came As No Surprise confirms these traits with it’s instantly memorable Cure style riff and despairing lyrics. It’s a veritable snapshot of the very best periods of British pop music; a time when popular music had more of a soul, and certainly more artistic merit than is exhibited in today’s charts. Yes it was catchy, but more than anything it was born out of a feeling of discontent, of wanting something better. That cynicism was masked by the songs upbeat tones and a sense of bravado though, bands like The Smiths and Orange Juice being prime examples. It’s this apparent shared spirit which makes Vegas Nights more exciting than most of the other derivative 80’s style dross being spouted out at the moment. This is a very promising debut from a band with the potential to make records as exciting as they are accessible, something which has been mostly lacking in the British music scene for quite some time.
(4.5 out of 5) by Chris Tapley
Reviewed By: Lisa Torem Label: Platform Records Format: CDS
What a global paradox that five Glaswegians woo the Japanese music scene and name themselves after that American adult wonderland known as Vegas. Compared to the Happy Mondays and the Stone Roses for their emotionally-packed repertoire, Vegas Nights release their debut AA single in late October.The band's influence by the Cure is evidenced by the first cut ‘Touch and Feel.’ Immediately effusive, it embraces perculating guitar riffs and punchy vocals. The second cut ‘It Came As No Surprise embues a solid melody and masterful vocals. Punch-drunk drums, acerbic cymbals and heavy reverb come together on the chorus - a rousting guitar riff rounds off this revelation. The band members promised a sound that would encompass a variety of genres. They have done so and some of the guitar work by Johnny often recalls that of the Ventures. While it may take some time for them to acquire the magical chemistry of an established band like the Cure, they’ve captured the musical immediacy of the moment and look like they’re well on their way to cashing in their hard-earned casino chips.
Vegas Nights is not a compilation of songs from Celine Dion's recent stint playing to packed, no doubt tasteless, crowds on the strip. (Thank heavens to Betsy I hear you cry!). Nor are they a collection of dubious clips from some over exuberant frat party. They are in fact a very promising five piece from Scotland due to release their debut, for your audible delight, on October 26th.
Comin' atchya,' mercifully not like Cleopatra, but rather more like a Jack-In-A-Box on speed, 'Touch & Feel,' the first track on this double 'A' side from Stirling's finest, is a runaway train of a track, a fine piece of Indie power pop bursting with energy. Vocally despatched with just enough youthful petulance and a 'couldn't give a ---- attitude,' it's reminiscent of the Buzzcocks, and particularly Pete Shelley. From the metaphoric slap in the face you get from the opening bars the pace doesn't relent, it's carried along with harmonies and a sing along, get ready to pogo in the mosh pit, tempo.
The second of the AA's is a gentler affair, a little slower, but only just, and for me the ever so slightly better track. Again there are plenty of harmonies, a backing guitar break and accompanying vocal that come oh so close to 'Happy Hour' by The Housemartins and a nostalgic day dream towards Scotland's very finest export (No not Tizer), Jesus & Mary Chain. A little more reverb, and a bit more polish who knows.
Vegas Nights have delivered a stirring debut bristling with frantic, almost naively positive, excitement. They deserve to be heard. Keep your ears peeled. Whether it be on Round Table, or as someone's 'single of the week,' etc. Vegas Nights should get given their chance. If it's not this time around I'm sure they've got a lot more to offer, and based on this AA release, let's hope so. Andrew Lockwood (3 stars)
''Like the beatles going through an early 80’s indie blender…''
Vegas Nights are from Stirling ( which is the same town as Jack Butler in fact) and in some respects they’re singing from the same 20th Century song book. "Touch And Feel" is driven completely by jangled guitars, but with a little more of an influence from Brian Wilson had he perhaps been a member of the Buzzcocks. Throughout this sprinkling of scuzzy psychedelia, the vocals seem to hang on to each note with a slight charming wobble, as the band take cues from the Beatles to the Smiths with an equal amount of pop fuelled glee.
MMM By Simon Brown
Originally from Stirling, but now based in Glasgow, Vegas Nights show that they have some promise here on this, their debut single. They’ve been listening to a lot of different music -clearly both the Beach Boys and The Cure (good), but what they need to do is work on finding their own voice. Some good ideas here - I look forward to seeing them grow (3 STARS)