After having the pleasure of seeing Source Victoria open for Adam Franklin of Swervedriver fame at The Rogue this past Friday, I took the opportunity in between football games the rest of the weekend to listen to the band’s CD The Fast Escape, allowing it to really sink in and fully affect my senses. Trust me, this was a great way to spend the weekend!
I have to apologize to the band first. The fact I enjoy music the way I do makes it inexcusable that I was not hip to Source Victoria a long time ago. But then again, not many Arizona bands have really inspired me since the Mill Avenue era of the late eighties and early nineties, the days of Dead Hot Workshop, The Feedbags, The Gin Blossoms and The Refreshments. Bands such as The Voice, 40 Watt Las Vegas, Half String, The Tellers, Housequake, North Side Kings, Letdownright, PTWKAF, Andrew Jackson Jihad, Snow Songs and The Captives have reminded me the Valley of the Sun has produced some great music over the years.
Source Victoria creates music that plays right into my hand, a lush, epic form of dream pop that draws inspiration from some classic Britpop bands like Elbow, Catherine Wheel and Kitchens of Distinction, but adds in an indie pop edge to keep the formula unique.
I did a little reading online this weekend and was quite impressed with the history of the band. Lead singer and principal songwriter Brendan Murphy moved to Boston in 1998 to study law at Northeastern University. During his time at the university he continued to write music. Once he returned from school he had the framework for the songs on the album and a desire to begin playing again. The foundation for The Fast Escape had already been built. Once the motivation to play returned, the shape of the disc began to take shape.
Released in late 2007, The Fast Escape contains nine songs of sweeping dream pop, led off with a track by the name of The Welcoming that calls to mind mid-era Appleseed Cast. The subtle mood and tempo of the first song leads perfectly into the stellar guitar intro of Until We Crack, a stunning track that features plenty of guitars that brilliantly shimmer and the gravelly, but beautiful vocal delivery of Murphy. Track three is my personal favorite, the epic and incredible Opportunistic, a song that hammers home the idea that subdued power à la Elbow creates music that is a gift to all senses affected by great music. This is one heck of an amazing track my friends!
The album continues in this vein for the remaining six songs, alternating between the mellow dream pop of tracks such as The End is Just the End to mid-tempo indie pop of a song like Heartless Boy. Each track features the entire band in tight synchronization, complemented well with a good mix of backing vocals, a rhythm section that maintains the structure of each song and a wonderful job on the keyboards. And of course, that amazing, shimmering guitar work!
Folks, I jumped on the Source Victoria train pretty late, so I urge you to not wait long after reading this to stop by Stinkweeds and pick up The Fast Escape. In addition, Source Victoria contributed a track to the When In AZ compilation that came out the fall of 2009, covering defunct Phoenix band Traindead’s song Slowburner. This is plenty of great music from one band to remind all of us that there is some serious talent right here in our hometown!