Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Reviews:: Nees and Vos Extended Play

Here’s a note to all musicians randomly submitting CDs to bloggers: follow Nees and Vos lead. After politely requesting to submit the hill a CD, Nees (Andrew Neesley) and Vos (Chris Vos) not only shipped us a record, but included a t-shirt, stickers, posters, info about the record and I think I found a kitchen sink trapped inside the manila.

I think for a band like Nees and Vos, the personal touch really helps. If I looked at the cover of this record, I’m not sure if I’d be overly hyped up on listening. The cover picture of Nees is a perfect hybrid of Common and Everlast – complete with the shamrock tattoo - and the back cover has a black and white of Vos singing into a mic under the shadows of a pulled down ball cap. My first impression was, “jebus, this is going to be some rip-rock, rap metal crap I’ll have to pretend to listen to.”

I couldn’t have been more wrong, or more pleasantly surprised. Nees and Vos combine a rootsy vibe with an affection for soul and melody. The six-song EP hits pretty hard, relying on an honest take on classic 60’s/70’s soul with a collection of modern tools. The record opens with (I Ain’t) Going Back to Georgia and the horns at the beginning remind me of the classic riffs Pete Rock and C.L. Smooth sampled back in the day. Vos has a smooth vocal style and the programmed beat really moves. You just start settling into the vibe when the keyboards and sing-along summery chorus drops. Matt Turner’s bass line moves along nicely and the guitar flourishes really fit in nicely. The song really set the tone for the EP.

Angel is a more of a straight ahead soul track. The organ matches the tone and energy of the vocals nicely. When Neesley’s handclap beat comes in, you can't help but nod along in agreement. The group understands and appreciates the power of soul, but doesn’t try to steal from the greats. Instead, they tip their cap and try to find their own niche in the genre. Pretty Girl has that same smoothed out vibe, but the kick of the beat is a real hand clapper. I can’t help but picture this song being played in some dark bar with Neesley sitting at piano, backed by a full band of horns while Vos plays the guitar and belts out the track with his eyes closed while the audience claps along in unison.

It’s easy to see I enjoy this little gem. It sounds great, and it’s unique and when the dubbed out beat comes in on Ain’t No Sunshine, I was hooked. The Bill Withers track is awesome to begin with, but the programming the band uses on this is tight. It sounds like an orchestra of stabbing strings off in the distance mixed nicely with horns. Chris’ vocals really sound good on this track. The emotion just pours out.

This review is already longer than the EP, but for a band trying hard to get their music heard, I think it’s well warranted. If you are into soul music, just give a listen to Johnny Boy and you’ll be sold.
MP3:: Pretty Girl

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Posted at 5:24 PM by ack :: 0 comments

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