As much as I love discovering new music to listen to, there is simply too much to keep up with. For every young band releasing their first album, there are thousands more practicing in their garage and gearing up for the big leagues. Despite this, I like to pride myself on finding at least a very small handful of bands that I love to follow through their careers. But as I said before, I’m nowhere near perfect and sometimes I let a band slip through the cracks. This is where I found Breaching Vista, and I’ve already promised myself to never lose sight of them again.
Hailing from Kitchener, Ontario, Breaching Vista are relatively young, although they’ve already played shows with an impressive list of headliners, including Finger Eleven and Marianas Trench. At times, it’s easy to see why they would play with these groups, as pretty much every song on Vera City is geared towards the radio rock crowd. This album is an example that proves true the old adage of radio music: “It’s popular for a reason.”
Right from the two opening songs, the energy is palpable, as We Are The Way leads beautifully into Sleep, the first single off of the album. Every element of the perfect pop rock song is present here, whether it’s John Maksym‘s breathy vocal delivery or the melodies played between Maksym and Al Malnar.
Although Sleep introduces listeners to the heavier side of Vera City, Nervous and Forgive You are the slower complements that play out as stronger than other pop acts. Both sink their teeth into your brain and get stuck in there for days, and if that’s not a sign of pop perfection then I don’t know what is. I found myself singing, “Take it back and go one step further/Two steps back, I don’t wanna get nervous,” without even knowing it.
Give Me A Reason ups the tempo and brings in gang vocals to great effect, and the guitar solo raging through the last minute will definitely get blood pumping. Opening with some drowsy string plucking, Tonight blazes through another catchy chorus before swinging into a nifty bridge, fuzzy guitars and all. Six tracks in and I’m still hooked, which is a feat many bands haven’t been able to pull off lately.
However, by the time Reverie, lucky number seven, was finished, the middle of the road approach that Breaching Vista took to recording Vera City bled through. Reverie sounds just a bit too similar to what we’ve heard so far, making it the first disposable track on the album. Luckily, Run With The Punches and W5 cram my words down my throat. Both songs bring back the energy with contagious “whoa oh’s!” and some heavier riffing that both serve to prevent the onset of monotony. Throughout both, Maksym shows that his pipes can hold up the beefier tracks just as well as they can carry the ballads, and Nik Varey lets us know he can do more than just simple beats on his kit.
Coming up on the end of Vera City, two five minute songs compete for attention, and the first of the pair, Wrath Of Nyre, easily wins. Opening with a swelling riff that carries the rest of the track, the energy ebbs and flows naturally, crashing between restrained verses and unleashed choruses, creating one of the best songs on the album. Goodbye, So Long doesn’t fare as well, as it falls back into bland radio rock territory, with the generic break up lyrics holding down an otherwise adequate track.
Reaching the last two tracks, Letters brings back the ballad form and has Breaching Vista performing the hell out of it. This is where much of their promise lies, as they take established formulas and follow them to the point where they are recognizable, while putting their own unique spin in their songs. Featuring a beautiful duet, Letters builds to a heartbreaking climax, which makes Little Thoughts that much more welcome. Closing out the album with buckets of adrenaline, the final track springs through its run time, ending on a very strong note.
With that being said, the radio rock style they perform so well begins to wear after a few listens. Although Vera City is a good album, it plants itself firmly in the middle of the road. Breaching Vista are excellent as a radio rock band, but if they plan to set themselves apart from the rest, they’ll have to differentiate themselves from the pack.
However, for a debut album from a band looking to propel themselves into radio stations, Vera City is the strongest start anyone could hope for. The songs are catchy and well done, hinting at the talent that these guys have. Given time to mature and branch into different styles, Breaching Vista could very well be the next band to be blasting out of your speakers during a summer drive.
This review is based on a copy of the album that was provided to us for review purposes.