Today marks the release of Vision Fortune’s sophomore record, Country Music. Since forming in 2011, the two-piece have honed their experimental sound, moulding work to be released by the likes of Italian Beach Babes (Dirty Beaches, Eagulls, Male Bonding), Rocket Recordings (Goat, Teeth of the Sea) and Gringo (Hookworms, That Fucking Tank). Their new record, their first released via ATP Recordings, was recorded in an extensive villa in Tuscany, Italy. With minimal recording equipment and a limited supply of DVDs, the pair set out to make the best of what they could with their limited resources.
The title, “Country Music” gives less than nothing away about this record – to make any comparison at all between this and country music would be wrong and deceiving, this is the antithesis of any connotation of country music. As with every genre, it goes one of two ways – pop music can be fun and light or irritating and whiny, indie music can be captivating or wishy-washy, acoustic artists can be beautiful or simplistic and dull, and experimental music can be hauntingly beautiful, or like nails down a blackboard. Unfortunately, this record swings between those polar opposites.
Previously, we’ve featured single Dry Mouth as our track of the week, and whilst it’s a little predictable, there’s strength in the track and a real hint at potential in the music. Sadly, that potential isn’t really expanded on, and although the record often gets to the point where the same potential is hinted at in the sound, it’s never expanded on enough to feel as though it’s had the most made of it.
Several of the tracks on the release are executed fantastically sublimely, echoing and adding enough atmosphere to the make them mood pieces, soaking up the environment they were created in; these are the only hints at fancy production though. The cream of the album would even be suited to serve as soundtracking for films – psychological thrillers or submarine-driven ones dependant on the track – such is the calibre.
However, it isn’t all soundtrack and montage worthy throughout. There are moments that are more haunting that beautiful, more suited to nightmares than horror films. What is sometimes artistic is sometimes nonsensical, and this even becomes painful after a while. I really wish the, “nails down a blackboard”, line had been a joke, or at least an exaggeration, but closing Back Crawl II left me with a headache and a strong desire to lie down for a little while to get over it. If the music is experimental, the close is where the experiment went wrong.
The album is worth a listen, and I wouldn’t say that if I despised it. It’s creative and bizarre, and if you can tune out the moments that are less than kind to the ear, then you might even be in for a treat.