Escape, along with brotherhood, is at the core of Your Vegas. Four of the five band members grew up in a small suburb of Leeds called Otley. Forming a band came naturally; according to Girelli. “There aren’t many people in Otley. You find three other people near the same age into music, you’re probably going to meet up and form a band.”
At first, the concept of escape simply meant finding a sound. The group started out as a grungy, Nirvana-influenced group, but that slowly changed. A keyboardist was added; the music opened up. “Making a racket turned into thinking about songs,” says guitarist Mat Steel, who offers up U2 and Depeche Mode as influences (as for contemporaries, he mentions Coldplay and The Killers).
With its sound taking shape, “escape” now meant hitting the road. The band released a few indie singles and started touring the UK in a tiny van. “Up and down the motorway, doing what we call the toilet tours,” says Coyle, referencing the bars, universities and small clubs that dot the countryside. “We’d hit islands off of Scotland, and then go all the way down to Plymouth. We even hit up the Scottish highlands–there were these small towns that no one ever plays, where the town’s ancestors had settled thousands of years ago, and their families never left. It was good fun.”
Sometimes bands know how to write the kind of ear-catching music that can easily be turned into a single. On any decent album, you can expect there to be at least one or two songs that can easily become popular. But rarely is there an album where nearly every song has the right combination of simple, emotional lyrics and memorable melodies that can stay with you for the rest of the day. Your Vegas has created an album with A Town And Two Cities where practically every song could be their new hit single.
Your Vegas brings an unassuming sound to each of their songs. They’re a band of five talented guys who know how to play their instruments and sing. Yet, they have more depth than that. On the Coldplay-esque track, The Way The War Was Won, lead singer Coyle Girelli shows us more emotional depth than on the more fun and upbeat anthems that permeate the majority of the album. Singing along to a soft piano accompaniment that breaks out into epic guitar and drums; he gives a sense of longing and sadness for a more peaceful time with beautiful scenes of fireflies and a simple wish to see blue skies again.
In the fast-paced It Makes My Heart Break, it’s a song mostly driven by guitars and the lead singer telling us that, “It makes my heart break,” while sounding slightly sad, but accepting of the situation at hand. This song, like Troubled Times, gives us the impression that it’s meant to be a song about bad things happening, but accepting the necessity of certain changes. Your Vegas isn’t trying to drag the listener through a quagmire of negative emotions in order to convey any specific message; their music is meant to be uplifting and enjoyable. Listening to The Cure’s Disintegration or any angst-music constantly will crash anyone’s mood; listening to Your Vegas and A Town And Two Cities constantly, however, is a genuinely pleasant experience.
Review by Nicolas Bunzmann