By: Eric G.
The Audience was forced to change its name to the Vue because of that lame British band that goes by theaudience (one word), but, as far as I can tell, all the changes from name to sound are for the better. The Vue plays a wild strain of punkish Glam rock (The Stooges and Ziggy Stardust kind) like there’s no tomorrow, which is the only way, really. There’s a difference between jumping on a bandwagon to imitate a style of music and actually living it. The Vue sound like they invented Glam rock, which we all know is not the case, but I’m not going to tell them because I don’t want to burst their bubble.
On last year’s The Death Of A Girl EP, the band introduced its new direction of reckless abandon and driving rock and roll bluster. There’s a solid dose of Rolling Stones in the Vue’s velveteen crunch too. This band sounds like it could fall apart any minute, which adds to the voyeuristic charm. The Vue’s songs are sexually charged and downright horny, sometimes, to an embarrassing degree, but they pull it off with balls to the wall energy and frantic playing. Most of it is probably for show, but I’m happy to be along for the ride.
“White Traffic” is a flawless opener, balancing an abrasive vocal attack with bluesy guitars that somehow end up sounding catchy. I’ve probably listened to this song twenty times and I still can’t figure out what the hell Rex Shelverton is saying in the chorus. It hardly matters, though, because it rocks. “Girl” pushes the limits of embarrassing lyrics, but the swirling organ and climactic guitar crescendos make such lines as “oh, girl, you turn me on…touch me girl” easier to digest. “Angel’s Alright” proves that the Vue is not just some one-trick pony either. New Wave-y guitar breakdowns overshadow the showy punk posturing, proving that the band listens to more than just T-Rex, Iggy Pop and The New York Dolls. “Talk To A Model” even recalls Bauhaus with its gothic overtones and disjointed changes.
Shelverton’s voice flails wildly on each song with an exaggerated wail that escalates into a scream at all the right moments. He whimpers and moans like he’s in pain, but we know he’s just wallowing in the Vue’s dirty rock and roll world, where eyeliner and shiny pants and broken hearts are de rigueur. Since its days as The Audience the band has shed much of the extraneous noise and honed in on a more specific sound. The Audience took more from its influences than it gave to its music, but the Vue, despite still wearing its past proudly on its sleeve, manages to push forward and carve out a new territory all its own.