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""Wake" e.p. Review"

Vultures? is a band that has been around in various forms since the dawn of time. Their current line up features Anderson Lunau undertaking bass and lead vocal responsibilities, guitars handled by Jeff Riley and Andy Langmuir, and Scott Warren on drum duty and backing vocals. In the local scene, these guys are known for a number of different things. Riley recently made his debut at part of Poughboy, in their most recent show at Villains. Anderson was part of the notable Golden Hands Before God…, and Scott is known for his skills as an engineer, running Rockerie Records, from whence came last summer’s Vultures? release The Deuce EP, as well as his recent epic, Hate Letter, the first release of Scott’s solo project, This Is War (which also includes guest appearances from the rest of the band). Now the boys are back with their newest EP, and one to actually be released on a physical medium, Wake. This EP clocks in at just under twenty minutes, contains four songs, and a wide variety of sounds.

The disc opens with Brain Jail, which startled me a bit at first. I’m used to these guys being a bit rougher, but this song strikes me as a groovy, flowing, and more progressive than usual track. The vocals are mixed a bit farther back than is generally found in their tunes, but to some great effect, reinforcing the emotions already dripping off Anderson’s vocals.

Beverley starts off as more of a slow-jam, very slouchy, and would fit well into a sleazy, smoke-filled lounge. It oozes along in a slow yet definite build, with a sound like The Eagles meeting The Mars Volta for a long night of dope-smoking, jamming, and looking back at failed relationships. This one gets stuck in my head.

The third one that I can’t decide on. I either love it or hate it. Maybe both at the same time. Entitled Kobe, Don’t Be Rapin’,I like to believe it’s about zombies, and taking this line out of context will reinforce that opinion; “There’s only grey matter I wanna take/This matter in my own hands, you could make me a man”.

But even aside from that, it’s an interesting little ditty. After the first two being more ambient and experimental, we bust into a song that could easily belong to any of the numerous boy pop-rock bands that plague the top forty airwaves. The song feels happy; the vocals waver pleasingly; the entire thing is catchy as fuck. But then you pay some attention to the lyrics, and the prominence of creepy under-age stalking in complete paradox to the light-hearted tone weirds me out. Still, this song contains my absolute favourite part of the entire EP. About three-quarters of the way through we stumble upon some beautifully executed guitar, nice and clean sounding, backing Anderson up as he completely nails his lines. Utterly unexpected, and wholly pleasant.

Then it’s time to disco, apparently. Control is something I was entirely unprepared for. If someone were to get up and dance to this, I don’t think I could even blame them. And That is not a normal statement for a Vultures? track. But still, it’s fun, the lyrics are a tad dark, and there are some awesome tones; typical traits of the band. I particularly loved the ambience on the chorus vocals.

Overall? I liked it. A lot. The songs were great, the sound of the entire thing didn’t make my ears bleed, and in every song I caught something that made me want to re-listen to figure out what it was. I love when that happens. 4.5/5. Loss of half a point for the music breaking my computer.

Catch Vultures? This Saturday, September 15th when they take part in the fourth annual Phog Phest on the corner of University and Victoria. They go on at 7:55, and will hopefully have the EP available for purchase. Tickets are $15, available from the band or Phog Lounge (157 University Ave. W.).

They’ll also be hanging out on The Windsor Scene from 5 until 5:30 pm on Wednesday, September 12th, only on CJAM 99.1 FM. Listen in for an exclusive interview, and a chance to hear all the tracks off of Wake.

- Windsor Zene

""The Deuce" e.p. Review"

Vultures?, The Deuce

Years ago, Vultures! was a project that featured members of Bombast (and formerly Somatose) and This Is Me As A Woman. This four piece – comprised of bassist/vocalist Anderson Lunau (Bombast, Somatose, The Golden Hands Before God), drummer Scott Warren (Lone Locust, This Is War, Bombast, Somatose), guitarist Andy Langmuir (Lone Locust, Bombast) and Moog player/vocalist Kimberly Ann Kukoraitis (This Is Me As A Woman) – created a sound that was bold, fresh and straight up different than a lot of the heavy rock/indie bands at the time. They released a 4-song EP, The Very Best Of... in 2009 (that I previously reviewed on an older website here). They played a handful of shows and began to create a loyal local following. And then things took a turn for the worst. Lunau’s departure from the city temporarily ended the project, but upon his return a year later, the relationship between couple Warren and Kukoraitis had soured and she subsequently left the project. The remaining three regrouped and added former Somatose band mate Jeff Riley on guitar and began working together again.

They changed their name (slightly) to Vultures? and began doing shows here and there. Another small hiatus (Langmuir and his wife welcomed a baby) and they’ve returned with a brand new EP entitled The Deuce. The EP is free to download from their label/studio Rockerie Records‘ website.

“Knuckle Down” just may be my new favourite Windsor song of 2011. Lunau’s voice has never sounded stronger and his well-known love for vocal melody really shines through and makes this one of the catchiest songs in ages, in a vein similar to bands like Interpol or Editors – almost ’80s new wave hooky – or like if Midlake were more electrically heavier, or Tears For Fears tried to write a song for Queens of the Stone Age. The dynamics of this pop gem are all brilliantly executed and the production from Scott Warren at Rockerie Records creates a perfect blend. Each musician is given room to breathe and shine on this one. The end bridge part of the song is an emotional crusher. Simply awesome.

The second track, “Serendipitous Happenstance”, isn’t nearly as pop perfect as “Knuckle Down”, but it’s equally…well…bombastic. It’s a slower romp that carries it’s own swagger, again with a Tears for Fears feel in some of the vocal melodies on the chorus, but still unique that an exact comparison is impossible and would be counter-productive anyway. The layers on this song are mammoth – with superb backing vocals that add as much in their shadowed presence as the thundering drum work of Warren, the humbled vocals and minimalist bass lines of Lunau, and the guitar work of Langmuir and Riley. In fact, there are very few guitar tandems in town that have perfected the Art of Weaving as well as Riley and Langmuir – that ability that Keith Richards and Ron Wood of the Rolling Stones possess to play in-between each other rather than with each other, creating a sonic tapestry of guitar work, trading rhythms and licks with ease.

The thing I’ve always enjoyed about this group of musicians is that whenever they work together – whether it be early in Somatose, Bombast, Lone Locust and now two different incarnations of Vultures!/? – is that the find a way to remain relevant and fresh without rehashing vibes or songs from other projects. Their chemistry with each other is perhaps one of the most complimentary line-ups in town right now and that translates to an ease and willingness to create without prejudice, blending each other’s strengths and dynamics into creating a sound that is both hauntingly familiar yet beautifully anticipatory.

- Windsor Zene

""...the very best of" e.p. Review"

"...The Very Best Of" (2009, Rockerie Records)
Engineered, Produced, Mixed & Mastered by Scott Warren & Andy Langmuir
Co-Produced by Vultures!

First up, you have to understand that the four members of Vultures! have a sense of humour alongside their collective musical prowess. Despite being called The Very Best Of, their debut release is actually a 4-song EP showcasing a raucous 16-minute introduction to the latest conglomeration of Windsor, Ontario musicians to sweat it out on rock and roll's dirty stages.

The band may or may not be familiar to many of you (despite a barrage of early shows, in Toronto and Windsor), but the members are by no means rookies. Lead vocalist and bassist Anderson Lunau has been cutting his teeth in bands for years - he's most recently been seen as the original bassist for The Golden Hands Before God.... Drummer Scott Warren previously played with Lunau in Bombast and Somatose, before temporarily leaving the kit to front Lone Locust last year. Guitarist Andy Langmuir, also from Bombast with Warren and Lunau, was also part of the two-guitar attack in Lone Locust. And Moogster and vocalist Kimberly Ann Kukoraitis is widely acclaimed from her one-woman performances under the moniker This Is Me As A Woman.

But listening to their EP, it's evident you don't need to know any of their collective histories to enjoy the sonic nuggets found within.

The lead off track, "Kobe, Don't Be Rapin'", starts off with a nice rock jaunt that introduces you to the unique vocals of Lunau and slowly introduces you to the swagger of the band. It's not the best album on the track, but it's a great choice as the start-up - it's like the beginning of a movie, where you can picture Anderson singing this song as he's bopping along on a nice summer walk through the neighbourhood. It gradually picks up steam and Kimberly throws in some nice call-and-answer vocals peppered throughout the chorus to create a thoroughly enjoyable summer rock and roll song.

Now that you're prepared for the sounds to come, it's followed by "Geez, Us", another solid song for the warm days ahead. It's become clear that these guys know something many bands seem to forget - how to write a great song. From start to finish, their songs have great structure, great flow, big hooks and solid production. They aren't trying to re-invent any rock and roll wheels, they aren't trying to show off how many octaves they can hit or how fast they can play their instruments, they're just bringing a collective knowledge of rocking and rolling and putting it down on CD. Andy Langmuir - someone I've long thought was one of Windsor's most under-rated if not under-appreciated guitar players - shines this point masterfully here as well. On a brief solo in "Geez, Us", instead of shredding and overkilling the simplicity of the song around him, he deftly plays just the right about of notes and the right amount of time, to show that you don't have to blow your fretboard load to put your stamp on a song.

My favourite song on the track is the third, "(Nothing Worth Having) Is Easy", whose big chorus 'I love you too/and everything that we're going through' screams to be sung along to at shows. One of the few carryover tracks from Lunau, Warren and Langmuir's days in Bombast, it has been beefed up and enhanced (thanks in part to the atmospheric twiddlings of Kukoraitis and her Moog) to become a fresh Vultures! track instead of a relic to a past project. Driving and charging, this is the stand-out fist pumper of the collection.

The EP closes out with an electro-rock instrumental of sorts called "Punch The One You're With" that finally unleashes the instrumental dexterity (the "thunder" if you will) that each member can ultimately bring to the rock and roll round table. There's some space-agey Moog noodlings, some huge drums, undulating bass lines and some thick and juicy guitar riffing, all compacted into a great scene closer for the 16-minute intro to the world of the Vultures!

It was only after repeated listens that it came to me. Lunau's voice is eerily similar to Colin Hay from Men at Work. I don't mean that in a bad way at all in case any of you think I'm poking fun (listen to Hay's voice on the Garden State soundtrack song "I Just Don't Think I'll Ever Get Over You"), it just came to me sort of matter-of-factly. So if you're looking for some sort of rock and roll comparison, think if Colin Hay fronted a band that was made up of all the members of Queens of the Stone Age, and they combined their hook ability with their rockability and you'll get a notion of where Vultures! is headed. Where they ultimately end up is completely up to them though.


"...the very best of" e.p. (2009)
Rockerie Records

"Terminus" e.p. (2010)
Rockerie Records

"The Deuce" e.p. (2011)
Rockerie Records

"Wake" e.p. (2012)
Rockerie Records




Vultures? is a brotherhood of four musical Windsorites, all of whom are obsessed with tone. The depth of sonic texture, the character of sound leaving speakers and skins, the sheer power of dynamic riffs...the way that feels to our ears, and to our souls, and then to yours.

Blue collar? Hell yes. Hard rock? In spades. Yet, Vultures? is every bit as vulnerable as we are hard hitting. Our highest highs are often found in our darkest moments; mining meaning from chaos and occasionally despair, while celebrating the triumphant bliss of best friends creating meaningful music together.

You will find the truth of Vultures? in the tone of Vultures? The care, the precision, the labour...every note and every word.