Monday, 22nd January 2018. 9:21:26pm ET


Artist: Vast
CD Title: Nude
Label: Four Five Six Entertainment
Reviewer: Joshua Heinrich
Date: 9/26/04

Vast's Jon Crosby originally caught the ear of many a music fan with the orchestrated industrial and moody electro-rock of his epic debut, Visual Audio Sensory Theater. The brilliant Music for People turned all that on its side, offering a more organic brand of almost U2-esque driven epic rock that managed to outshine Crosby's previous offering with the unfortunate but unavoidable side effect of disappointing some of his more industrial-oriented fans. Nude, Vast's third offering, finds a happy medium between the two, blending moody, powerful rock with orchestration and toned down industrial elements.

Most of the songs here fall into rock structures, bass-driven numbers with rhythm guitar, great lead guitar riffs and arpeggios, and percussion, often filled out by beautiful orchestral arrangements and electronic production touches. Crosby's captivating, commanding vocals once again remarkably fall somewhere between Bono and Tim Booth territory with, perhaps, a hint of Thom Yorke thrown in for good measure. The songwriting is one step above topnotch and the performances both beautifully emotive and technically excellent, often blending rock simplicity with meticulous arrangements.

The album-opening electro-rocker "Turquoise", with its central electronic bass riff and epic rock chorus, is a definite standout, but certainly not the only one here. The following "Thrown Away" is almost undeniably the album's best, an amazing bass-driven rock track with a killer rhythm and a spectacular lead guitar fill. "Don't Take Your Love Away" is a beautifully arranged orchestral trip-hop ballad. The bass-driven rock ballad "Lost" enters and easily rivals modern U2 territory, oozing with jaw dropping beauty, while the melodic and mellow yet powerful orchestration of the piano riff-based "Winter in My Heart" perhaps has shades of, but certainly outdoes, Coldplay. "I Need to Say Goodbye" is a brilliantly written rock number with impressive bass work, although the hypnotic bass groove on "Ecstasy", doubled and distorted, probably outshines it and adds a great upbeat chorus to boot. "Candle" is a beautiful moody rock ballad with great production, while the more electronic "I Can't Say No (To You)" features another infectious bass groove with a lovely chorus. In case you haven't been counting, I just named nine of the album's twelve tracks as standouts. Yes, the album is that good.

Vast's Nude is, simply put, a brilliant rock gem. Bouncing back and forth between U2-esque epic rock intensity and beautiful orchestrated balladry, its sound is comparable to some of the last decade's most lauded alternative rock bands, better in many cases. Immaculately produced and nothing short of spectacular, Nude is one of the best rock albums I've heard this year.


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