The Vryll Society - Course Of The Satellite - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

The Vryll Society - Course Of The Satellite

by Howard Scott Rating:8 Release Date:2018-08-10
The Vryll Society - Course Of The Satellite
The Vryll Society - Course Of The Satellite

In the chorus of “Shadow Of A Wave”, a cut from The Vryll Society’s new album “Course Of The Satellite” is a line that states: “It takes a bit of time/to fall in love”. That lyric could very well describe the relationship between The Vryll Society and the rest of the music world. The band has been around now for awhile and has slowly but surely made a name for themselves both as recording artists and as an outstanding live act as well. Remarkable shows at Glastonbury and the SXSW festival in 2017 have fast tracked them to a larger audience, and the new release, due out August 10th on Deltasonic, should only accelerate the process.

The music created by this five piece group has been labeled psych-pop, synth-pop, space-rock and who knows what else. Here is a bit of advice for the listener: ignore all the damned labels and just enjoy listening to five guys from Liverpool who are obviously operating at the top of their game. There is a bit of everything here, and if you don’t find something tasty, it’s probably on you.

To be successful in the modern music world, a group needs a bedrock-like rhythm section. Guitar heroes and the best front man ever will only get you so far if the foundation isn’t there and iron strong. That simply isn’t a problem with The Vryll Society. Beyond having two severely talented guitarists ( Lewis McGuinness and Ryan Ellis) and a charismatic front man in Mike Ellis (no relation), TVS is anchored by bassist Lloyd Shearer and drummer Ben Robinson. On a personal note, I have to say Robinson is one of the best drummers I have had the pleasure to listen to in quite awhile. I am especially impressed that in a band that uses electronic backgrounds to full advantage, Robinson plays what sound like old school, non electronic skins. Its an unusual combination in this style of sound, and I, for one, found it very pleasing.

That said, Shearer on bass combines brilliantly with Robinson’s beats to set the groundwork for everything else that follows.

The vocal performance by Mike Ellis also gives TVS a very distinctive sound. His upper-range voice, combined with better than average elocution, allows the listener to actually make out the well-thought-out lyrics without the use of a translating device of some sort. It is a talent many lead singers out there would be wise to work on.

The title cut from the album quickly and distinctly showcases the talents of all members. An operatic introduction leads to great drum and bass riffs layered on top of Ellis’s voice. The uptempo melody is enhanced four minutes in by superb guitar stylings, and drums and piano close it out in a unique and stylish manner.

In “Tears We Cry” the guitars come alive creating a bluesy haunting melody that vocalist Ellis uses to full advantage. This tune, above all others on the disc, really gives a taste of just what this group is capable of. It ends way too soon at just 2:45.

The previously mentioned “Shadow Of A Wave” puts the rhythm guys on full display again. Shearer tears up the atmosphere with bass efforts on par with Entwistle or Flea. The mixing of the album has done a great job of bringing both Shearer and Robinson to the forefront on many of the tracks. Too often the backbone gets buried at the mixing console, and hearing it front and center here is a delight.

“Inner Life” sets the group on a jazzy journey through Dave Matthews/Steely Dan/Bruce Hornsby territory, which isn’t a bad place to visit. It is a bit of a departure from most of the other cuts and highlights the band’s versatility.

“Give In To Me” closes out the recording, and again gives the listener a taste of the adaptability of The Vryll Society’s songwriting. This tune wraps things up as a slow, almost melancholy ballad that showcases Mike Ellis’s range. A spacey background track creates a heavenly feel that makes the anthem nearly hymnal in nature.  It is ethereal and beautiful at the same time.

The Vryll Society were also aided in this production by Joe Fearon and Tom Longworth. Both engineered and produced the sound, and added much of the electronic and keyboard magic. As mentioned, Longworth did an admirable job of mixing everything, and Mike Marsh performed mastering engineer duties.

Bands from Liverpool seem to have an almost built-in inferiority complex because of the high quality of music to emerge from that area in the last sixty years. The Vryll Society has no reason to be so encumbered, and truthfully, they show no evidence of it being a thing. The abundance of their talents shine through on “Course of the Satellite” and should only take them to a higher plane of success.

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