CD Review: Vintage Blue “No Going Back”

VBOne of the best unsigned bands in the country at the moment is Chicago’s Vintage Blue. Vintage Blue consists of: Ryan Tibbs guitarist, vocalist; Benjamin Bassett guitarist, vocalist; Brent Shumard percussionist, wind; Cesar Corral bassist; Matt Zimmerman backup vocalist, brass, keyboardist and Will Crowden drummer. Back in 2012, the band put out their first CD, a 13-track called Strike the Mics. With that release, the public got a good indication of what the band sounded like as the band’s sound would have attracted fans of both Vertical Horizon and Sister Hazel.

Now Vintage Blue is back with a new 6-song EP called No Going Back. While the last release featured that Vertical Horizon/Sister Hazel sound, the new release finds Vintage Blue going after a pop-rock sound that is much more unique to the band.

No Going Back from Vintage Blue begins with the track “Let Go”. The track begins with a great guitar riff that features both the acoustic and electric guitar from Benjamin Bassett and Ryan Tibbs. The initial ten seconds allows the two guitars a chance to create a very strong musical feel. The music builds until the entire band comes in to create a track that easily belongs on any Hot Adult Contemporary radio station. The lyrics to the track seem to find the singer waiting for more as he sings of “letting go “ and allowing whatever is present to take place. One of the largest parts of the song is the chorus as it is one of the most infectious moments on the entire release. There are many different elements to the song that make it undeniably one of the strongest moments on the new release from the band.

While the first track of “Let Go” features a guitar-driven feel to the music, the title track of “No Going Back” changes that feeling as Matt Zimmerman takes the lead for this track as the keyboard player. The piano-driven feel to the music gives the song a much more pop-like quality. With the combination of piano and guitar, the track brings to mind a slight Bruce Hornsby and the Range feel. While the piano from Zimmerman helps shape the music on the track, the track contains the same amount of energy as the track of “Let Go”.

Vintage Blue slows things down on the track “Remember”. The glockenspiel and acoustic guitar add a simplistic feeling to the music before the music slowly builds. The resulting track that is created by the quintet is perhaps the most acoustic of any of the songs on the No Going Back EP. The drums from Will Crowden on the latter half of the track have a driving quality to them as the band builds the song into a folk/rock-like song. That folk/rock feel goes well with the lyrics about turning back the hands of time and returning to days gone by when you were growing up. The band seems to have created the perfect song to tug at your heartstrings with “Remember”.

The tempo is brought back up for the track “Alone (I Can Hear)”. The track will remind many of the simple feeling of the rock music from the eighties. With a sound that has made many of the songs from that time period so “timeless,” “Alone (I Can Hear)” features music that is built as much on the keyboard as it is on the guitar. Like the track “Let Go” earlier on, “Alone (I Can Hear)” finds the singer in a very reminiscent mood; although, this track features lyrics that seem to suggest that he has lost his direction and has turned inward to ask a love from another time for guidance. The subject matter, mixed with the style of rock music, makes the track feel as if it would have fit well with songs on commercial radio back in the eighties…with enough current rock flavor to keep it relevant with today’s music-buying audience.

The No Going Back EP from Vintage Blue continues with the track “Carolina”. While the track “Alone (I Can Hear)” contains a large amount of influence from 1980s rock and roll but also contains some influence from modern-day rock and roll, the song of “Carolina” finds the band firmly embracing the 1980s for this track. The inclusion of the saxophone on the track really helps bring that retro feel to the song. The female vocals on the track also seem to give the song a little bit of a duet-like quality.

For the final track of “The Enemy,” the band brings back a little bit of their Vertical Horizon-influenced sound for the song. On a song that could easily have been found on VH’s Everything You Want album, the song will remind you of “You’re a God”. The song ends up being easily the hardest rocking track on the CD and brings the release to an end on a very upbeat note.

The No Going Back EP from Vintage Blue features a lot of strong music. The release shows the band stretching their talents and creating a lot of music that shows that they’ve matured as a band. And producer Jamie Candiloro has helped to bring out the best in the band. All-in-all, the new release from Vintage Blue is worth checking out.

Check out the No Going Back EP from Vintage Blue as well as other music from the band by going to their Soundcloud profile.

To check out the video to “No Going Back“, click the link.

Check out the band’s PR firm, Novo Arts and Management.