ARTIST: SIGHTS & SOUNDS
TITLE: NO VIRTUE
LABEL: INDEPENDENT (UK & USA) | NO SLEEP (CANADA / USA)
There’s a lot to be said about the term ‘side project’ .
It’s a term that is often defined as not being the main creative outlet for the artist, a top trump card for die hard fans to know about, and records that are often stowed away between more renowned releases. But if you were to look over the releases of Volcano Choir ( Justin Vernon of Bon Iver), or the incredibly lengthy catalogue of American Football’s Mike Kinsella (Owen), let alone the plethora of tied together hardcore that is Angel Du$t, Turnstile, and Trapped Under Ice, you’ll find that even sometimes that with enough will power and creative force these projects sit far from the sidelines.
Andrew Neufeld may front the hardcore powerhouse, and arguably pillar, that is Comeback Kid, but his own music taste is far from heavy, and with the newer release from Sights & Sounds the eclectic sounds of the dynamic influences are weaved heavily throughout the ten tracks.
“In a time where artists are often criticised for lacking consistency in their sound, No Virtue is a refreshing game changer in creative freedom and genre norms…”
Opener, No Virtue, is one of the strongest record openers we’ve heard in a while, an almost cinematic build up that within moments peaks into a chaotically beautiful orchestra that leaves no instrument behind, with the excitement only furthered by keys and trumpets colliding. The sheer power of the first three minutes and thirty four seconds sends out a statement. This is a record that Neufeld and his brothers have been waiting to unleash for a very long time.
A synth ridden Resurface sets a new pace, but it’s the crushing and anxiety ridden drum beat of Serpentine that truly dictates the various power plays of this record. Revisiting a heavier side heard on 2013’s Silver Door, a passionate fury tears through every riff and bassline on the track, which further demonstrates the true variation of this record as the piano ballad of ‘Caught Up’ drifts in. The wondrous yet equally malevolent guest vocals of Nicole Dollanganger is an eerie thread that runs through a once more cinematic feature to this record. All of the record is thrown into a 90s esque nostalgia during the electro opening of, Undertow’, sampling the likes of dance giants Faithless and even Daft Punk when it comes to the instrumentation of the track. Takes & Takes wouldn’t fall short to appear on a Jimmy Eat World or Death Cab For Cutie record, with twinkling guitars and melodies that would allow the track to sit comfortably as a B-Side to albums such as Plans and Chase This Light.
“an overwhelming and truly honest expression of the forever changing spectrum of human emotion.”
In a time where artists are often criticised for lacking consistency in their sound, No Virtue is a refreshing game changer in creative freedom and genre norms. Whilst Neufeld is more often known to more fiercly punch holes through the soundscape of punk and hardcore, No Virtue is almost everything you’d want in a mirroring side project.Every track, through thunderous instrumentals, wildy sensational turns and bends through varying genres, and a powerhouse of both harmonic and compelling vocals leaves the listener consistently intrigued as to what the next track will hold, and with it an overwhelming and truly honest expression of the forever changing spectrum of human emotion.