16 Nov 2019
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The Vibes - Single Review: Real World

08 Nov 2019 // A review by Jacinda Selman

When Brendan Thomas and the Vibes hit our television set during the second season of the X Factor NZ, I got caught up in the excitement and rush that the band generated. The fever spread the nation, and New Zealand fell in love with the garage psych trio determined to perpetuate the sound and spirit of the 60's. Now performing under the more egalitarian name The Vibes, the band have released their latest single, Real World; their first release since their 2017 album Wrap You in the Sun, which was produced Eddie Rayner (Split Enz, Crowded House, etc). That was a great album with tonnes of groove and feel.

Real World is an eclectic medley reminiscent of early Mr Bungle (see Mr. Nice Guy). This single is punchy and subverts expectations at each turn. A heavy funk influence keeps this track danceable and fun, where it could have become inaccessible and disjointed. Real World starts with verses leaning heavily on Superstitious by Stevie Wonder. The funk and feel of Stevie Wonder is undeniable, so the temptation to recreate is understandable IF they can bring something original to the table to balance the offence. Perhaps it was the pressure to write something beyond reproach of being borrowed from Wonder that pushed The Vibes to make such wildly different sounding sections. The song moves abruptly through several contrasting sonic landscapes, which could have been very satisfying if these sections had converged melodically or had some interplay to unify the song a little more. A really solid groove could also have bridged this gap, but the signature Vibes groove is not as pronounced here as it is in their past albums.

The press release for this song describes the lyrics as a social commentary on consumerism, social isolation, and rebellion. To me, the lyrics speak more to escapism and the experience of lovers. This is something I love dearly about song lyrics: each person can find their own meaning and take what they need from that.

This is a bold and daring single which shatters expectations. Potentially divisive, this track keeps us guessing right to the last second. Who could guess what they will bring us next as they establish themselves as an enduring force at the forefront of New Zealand rock, and outgrow their origins as a whirlwind reality TV success story.

Rating: ( 4 / 5 )
 

About The Vibes

Bohemian trio The Vibes, comprised of frontman Brendon Thomas, drummer Timothee Nolier and bassist Michael Anderson teleported from the psychadelic 60’s to our TV screens, auditioning for the sophomore season of The X Factor NZ.

The Auckland-based outfit applied for the show after the announcement of a bands category, a first in the show’s international franchise. After a barnstorming take on Hendrix’s Foxy Lady, Brendon and his stagemates earned themselves a reputation as a live highlight among the show’s top 12.

Wearing their influences (Hendrix, Zeppelin, The Beatles, The Who) on their tassled sleeves, Brendon Thomas and The Vibes made their way to the show’s grand final, putting their signature spin on every song they covered, smashing a few guitars and guiding their debut EP The Eclect to #1 on the NZ iTunes charts.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for The Vibes

Releases

Wrap You In The Sun
Year: 2017
Type: EP

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