I’m sitting here, having just headbanged and air drummed to a number of Vesperteen songs, wondering what I could possibly say on this blog that I haven’t already said about this band. Now, when you think about it, this can be a good problem to have. Repeat coverage of an artist only comes from us being all about their sound and our belief that they are worthy of your attention.
The Hype around The Hype Is Dead is Worthy. Of. Your. Attention. Friends.
Now, Pitchfork, Stereogum, the New York Times, and NPR aren’t going to be rushing forth with accolades for how groundbreaking these tunes are. But (sorry, anyone from those publications who might happen upon this, I got love for you!), who cares about impressing highbrow publications all the time? Wanna have some fun? The Hype Is Dead is about embracing your insecurities, chasing love, and more while having a blast.
In the words of a tweet from Vesperteen merch dude and longtime Tuned Up friend Bob Prenger, “Welcome to your summer jams.”
You know what? Ohio basically skipped spring and went straight to summer. I’m blaming the release of this EP. God knew we would need proper weather to enjoy these bangers.
Hyperbole aside, let’s chat about the songs. “It Will Never Be Enough” was released as a standalone single last year and made our list of top 100 tunes of 2017 for its driving beat and summer-night chorus that warmed up my December car rides. It fits into this album seamlessly. “Memory” and “Blue” were introduced to me at SXSW when I caught Vesperteen on tour. The latter worked well as a groovy love song for the audience to casually bob their heads to, but the former emerged as an immediate favorite from the band’s catalog, with the instantly memorable falsetto in the chorus. “Speed of Light” will probably be one of the songs of the summer, for reasons that have nothing to do with Josh Dun’s cameo on the skins. “Feel” reminds me a bit of M83 and more recent iterations of Porter Robinson (check out his album, Worlds, if you haven’t) and “Medicine” dabbles in vocoder effectively, creating an environment where the swells aren’t as dramatic
The Hype Is Dead also finds Colin Rigsby in the midst of vulnerability. I found myself trying to dissect the meaning behind “Feel,” which seems to trace personal journeys of love and spirituality. Fans will take from the song what they’re supposed to, in spite of the real meaning only being known presumably to Rigsby. Fans will know that the album title, The Hype Is Dead, stems from paranoia that, so to speak, his “fifteen minutes” are up. So explores the song titled just that – “welcome to the funeral; the hype is dead!” Rigsby exclaims, tongue in cheek. I enjoy the double meaning that either Vesperteen will fizzle out or prove that they have staying power, in effect killing off the idea that the band is all hype and no substance.
If the quality of this release is any indication, Vesperteen will transcend the hype and keep growing.