A.M. Vibe – Capricorno


A.M. Vibe - Capricorno

A.M. Vibe is a trio out of San Diego, California consisting of vocalist and guitarist Lisah Nicholson, bassist Michael Porter, and drummer Mark Vernon.  Lisah was formerly in the band Red Dye No. 5 and the band, on the move since 2000, was previously on Silvergirl Records, which released their debut album, but is now on Planting Seeds Records, which released this sophomore album.  The band members play 1990s-inspired, indie-rock tunes with an alt-country timbre on certain songs.  Lisah’s vocals sound like a cross between the winsome sweetness of Juliana Hatfield and the directness of Kim Deal of The Pixies.

 “Superstar” opens the album with Lisah sing-talking in a velvety hush against the bass and crisp, mid-tempo beat, as the guitar line follows the melody of “Sweet Jane” until the song picks up on the chorus with sparkling rings of guitar and shimmering cymbal crashes that open up the sound.  This ‘verse, chorus, verse’ song takes the requisite guitar solo break, which deepens the tone, along with wistful pulls of violin, as Lisah pushes her vocals out by the end, declaring spiritedly “Something way up high / keeps the dream alive.”

 A constant strum of bass guitar imbues “Open Road” with a sense of restless energy, as the drum beat moves at a trot, increasing on the chorus sections, along with kicky cymbal crashes, alt-country guitar licks, and a backdrop of dreamy, breathy vocals as Lisah sings straightforwardly “Heaven only knows / where this single road will go.”  The guitar twang is suddenly dispelled by the arrival of buzzing, low-register guitars and violin strings near the end of the song.

 A low bass line, short tambourine shake, and harp strum mix with each other on “V” amid languid guitar notes and Lisah sing-talking in short phrases, where her vocal lines follow closely on the heels of one another on the verses.  Then another guitar comes in with male backing vocals, light hand claps, and a slow-burning guitar solo on the chorus, as Lisah, sounding like a cross between Juliana Hatfield and Harriet Wheeler of The Sundays, exclaims plaintively “You should go away, / you don’t really have to stay.”

 “Don’t Wanna Stay” is a mid-tempo, down-on-yer-luck song with darker, spooling guitar distortion, male vocal accents, and a weary grit to Lisah’s usually sweet voice, as she achingly explains that she doesn’t want to “…stay here for too long. / Feels like I’m waiting for something.”, but what could come off as a bare-bones, defeatist attitude is defiantly given life by the grimy guitar feedback, kinetic beat, and cymbal crash.

 Lisah is all too-cool-for-you sugar ‘n’ spice on “BMF”, the highlight of the album, a rock song that pushes into Jesus And Mary Chain territory with its heavy, slow, incessant crush of fuzzed-out, distorted guitar and propulsive  bass line, with Lisah’s vocals sounding a bit far off, but still sharp, and shadowed by shouty vocals reminiscent of Polly Jean Harvey as she sing-talks “I’ll take you way up high, / show you diamonds in my sky.”

 “Black Dogs”, which features an alt-country sound in its flecks of finger-picked guitars and clear-eyed, sing-talking vocals, brightens with the addition of light, chiming guitar, hand claps, and hit cymbal.  At least two guitars tangle with each other as male vocals mirror Lisah while she reflects upon the good times of a relationship, passionately coaxing out the lines “Sweetest inspirations,  / how you gave me hope, / all the love and adoration…”

Official Site: http://www.amvibe.com/

Planting Seeds Records: http://www.plantingseedsrecords.com/