Sound — 9
Imagine the sleek synth passages of Shiny Toy Guns with the beefy rock rhythm sections of The Bravery and what you will get is the nu wave rock quintet Your Vegas. Based in New York City by way of suburban towns located around Leeds, England, Your Vegas' debut album A Town And Two Cities is exciting synth-pop escapes with a modern rock pull and substantive chord progressions. They are the voice of a modern age evidenced in their song Birds Of Paradise when lead vocalist Coyle Girelli unintentionally channels the voice of U2's Bono circa With or Without You. I say unintentionally because in no other track does Girelli sound like Bono. Guitarist Mat Steel and keyboardist Mark Heaton produce nicely refined chord shifts and agreeable movements with an expandable latex quality as bassist Jon Langford and drummer Mal Taylor kick out chunky beats which elevate the highs and recede along the lows like in Up Until The Lights Go Out. The tune gives the bright synth textured rock flames equal weight to the melody's low-lit cinders. The band establishes a rhythm between being gregarious and extroverted and slipping into introverted recesses. They can sound overtly bold and loud and then revert to a low burning simmer. By creating these bipolar episodes, they keep the songs active offering dense melodic flourishes with a lot of zing in the guitar effects balanced by moments of soft shooting vignettes. The album has two synth-groomed ballads, The Way The War Was Won and Salvador which have a nostalgic tone in the plush guitar strings and a delicate fluency that would even appeal to a baby's eardrum.
Lyrics — 8
Some of the song titles sound like they came from pop culture books or movies like Troubled Times, The Way The War Was Won, and Birds of Paradise but the lyrics have a certain personal meaning for the band. Girelli reveals about Birds Of Paradise on the band's website, That's about two life-long friends, and one who goes to war and dies while being far, far away. Even though it's a song about war and death, there are aspects of it that are autobiographical. The lyrics unfold the sad tale with verses like, Beyond the white light/ You don't know if heavens in your mind/ And if hell is just a twinkle in your eye/ You've led a short life/ Short from the moment your were born/ To the moment that the sun filled the sky/ Remember long nights honey? / When we were kids and love was ours to find/ You've led a short life/ Not even Valium can kill that k-k-k-k-kick inside/ We're just two cats sitting on a hot tin roof/ We're just two young hearts running down the backstreets like we never went to school/ We're just soldiers fighting in a war against our own advice/ We're just birds of paradise. The image of a hot tin roof in the lyrics will, in the public's mind, allude to Elizabeth Taylor's movie Cat On A Hot Tin Roof and Birds Of Paradise is a popular flower. The band uses words and phrases that people may have heard of before and can relate to like incorporating the phrase "catcher in the rye" made popular from JD Salinger's book by that title. The lyrics show that the band seems deeply influenced by pop culture, incorporating pop culture idioms into their creative expressions.
Overall Impression — 9
From the promo shots of Your Vegas, you would think that they are all about style and no substance, but unless other musicians play on their album A Town And Two Cities, Your Vegas show themselves to have a lot of substance to justify being a rock band. It's not an album that you can pick out a favorite track and discard the rest; it's definitely an album that is meant to be consumed in its entirety. The tracks have the level of sorrow and human wounds relatable to Van Morrison giving it a bit of a rock flounce with the fearless optimism and excitement of The Bravery. Produced by David Bendeth (Red Jumpsuit Apparatus, Paramore), A Town And Two Cities has Your Vegas hooked up with the right gear to make a difference with rock fans around the world like The Killers did in 2004.