Jan. 2nd, 2009

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VAST - Visual Audio Sound Theater (1998)

Back in the late 90's Elves Palace (my favorite haunt for music) would get this monthly music sampler cassette from Concrete Corner Promotions featuring the latest and greatest of heavy rock and metal. At one point I had a whole shoebox filled with these tapes, and they soon superseded listening to our local heavy rock station, since well, one could only take so much Limp Bizkit and Jackyl in a day. In the spring of '98 the Corner tape featured a really trippy track from a band called VAST with an acoustic opening, a sample of Gregorian singers looping through the background while the singer lamented a love that he longed to regain. Low and behold I would hear this track in the trailers for Leonardo DiCaprio's movie The Beach soon after, so I decided to look into a little more. The track in question, "Touched", is still one of my favorite tracks of all time, though it took me awhile to warm up to the rest of VAST's first album. VAST mastermind Jon Crosby might've stuck to the "Touched" template a little too much with the samples on the other tracks, but it's a great neo-gothic rock album. "Here" is a fantastic opener, but the trio of "Dirty Hole", "Pretty When You Cry", and "I'm Dying" bogged things down a little bit with how distracting Crosby's cheeky lyrics get to be. The album's latter half is a more consistent and satisfying listen, though "Temptation" stands above as the others. I have yet to see the band live (yes, they're still touring), but I have to imagine that even Crosby acknowledges how much of his success is still owed to "Touched".

Give it a try:
"Pretty When You Cry"
"Somewhere Else To Be"

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