Every so often a group of earnest young men with guitars come along and proceed to become completely ubiquitous for months on end. Travis and Coldplay are former examples and by the sounds of their debut album, Vega 4 could be the next big thing.
Vega 4 are a diverse lot, consisting of an Irish singer, Canadian drummer, a guitarist from New Zealand and an English bassist. Accordingly, their music has a global sound to it, specialising in the anthemic sounds that would go down well in stadia everywhere. They’ve been honing their sound supporting everyone including Nickelback, The Cooper Temple Clause and Bryan Adams, meaning Satellites already has a willing audience.
Opening track Drifting Away Violently sets the mood pretty accurately, being an early Radiohead soundalike with some monstrous guitar riffing to the fore. Elsewhere, Sing has a soaring chorus that lodges firmly in the brain on first hearing, and the oddly titled The Caterpillar Song ends with a huge, uplifting choir that brings to mind the better moments of Embrace.
There doesn’t appear to be any ‘breakthrough’ track here, such as Coldplay had with Yellow or Travis had with Driftwood. Songs like Better Life or Hallelujah saunter along pleasantly but unremarkably, and there’s a tendency for some of the tracks to merge together.
Having said that, John McDaid has an impressive voice (although sometimes a bit too much like Thom Yorke or Matt Bellamy for comfort) and Bruce Gainsford is sure to have plenty of fans practising air guitar in their bedroom mirrors, especially on the terrific Shoot Up Hill. When they bring the tempo down as well, such as The Love You Had and especially Burn And Fade, they hit upon something really special.
While Satellites may not be the album that puts Vega 4 on the musical map, it certainly has enough quality moments to serve notice that they’re a band to watch. If they can cut down on the ‘lighters aloft’ moments and concentrate on something more intimate, they’ll be permanent fixtures everywhere you look soon enough.