Album Reviews

Vex Red – Start With A Strong and Persistent Desire

(Virgin) UK release date: 4 March 2002

Vex Red – Start With A Strong and Persistent Desire As debut electronic rock albums go, this isn’t at all bad. With the energy of Nine Inch Nails, enough guitars and drums to make Faith No More love them and a clearly rather considerable production budget, Aldershot quintet Vex Red have produced an album which takes ‘old’ rock and sticks it through a digital mincing machine.

Much of the album employs highly quantized techniques which Nine Inch Nails in particular were fond of, creating abrupt starts, ends and pauses, digitised effects and layers of electronically enhanced noise, especially in the up-tempo numbers (Cause and Solution). There are hints of KoRn about this lot, with first single Itch featuring almost simplistic lyrics over all manner of electronic guitar effects and a headbanging drum beat.

The electric guitar layering never once drowns the rest of the band out despite every opportunity to do so. The ballsy, lad’s band quality necessary to infuse the recordings with an immediate vibrancy is here in spades.

The slower numbers, such as Bully Me, usually start quietly and then explode into headbanging moshiness, the sort of thing your little sister would get crushed to in a festival. And, considering that the band reputedly hated each other before they were even signed, fans of Slipknot should probably give them a go too.

Judging by the inventiveness and energy present on this album, the hype around this lot could well be justified and apparent at live appearances. After such an appearance at London’s Astoria last year during which drummer Ben Calvert played stark naked, you might even get to see a nudie drummer. “It’s not like I’ve got anything to be proud of,” says Calvert. “We call it ‘stage cock’. Every time I get naked on stage, my cock seems to shrivel to half its normal size…”

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Vex Red – Start With A Strong and Persistent Desire