Always Be There by Vast ConduitRelease date: February 16, 2022
Label: Vast Music Conduit
Something has lurked upon the hills of California. And that band is Vast Conduit. They have this fission-sque take of their music, but with a strong coffee blend of Folgers answer to “smooth prog”. But there’s something more than the term itself. For Enchant keyboardist Bill Jenkins, he wanted to create boundaries with enough brainstorming ideas by bringing these incredible musicians to reach towards the light at the end of the tunnel.
He brought along Thought Chambers own Jeff Plant on bass and Michael Harris on guitar, Ghost and the City drummer Will Jenkins, Ancient Future violinist Jim Hurley, and vocalist Friel. Mind you, I’m not familiar with the bands that were mentioned. But a name like Vast Conduit, it sounds like a full-powerful locomotive, going at 900 miles per hour.
Their debut release Always Be There is one of those debuts that will take you back to remember when. You have Plant and Harris duelling each other by being ‘Too Busy’ with one another by crossing swords to lay down those funky grooves. You can the duo taking turns by reaching the finish line whilst going on this roller-coaster ride for another challenge as they go full-speed turned mellowing beauty for the lovely ‘Odessa’, and the good ol’ days with the title-track.
But its Jenkins laying down some of that Piano concerto pieces. It is very evidential of him to be some sort of conductor, honouring the Grand Wazoo on ‘Soul Tuck’. He along with Harris, Jenkins, and Plant, give signals to one another as they travel to some shredded staircases with unbelievable improvisations to close the doors shut.
Friel takes the spotlight on his vocals. Not only on the title-track, but the ascending opener ‘Barrier’ with Manon Roem and Hurley’s angelic violin textures to lay down the home driven reflection over an argument you had the night before whilst driving ‘500 Miles’, and some blistering acoustic wonders to watch the ‘Early Eclipse’ to happen.
Each of the tracks that are on this album, flies beautifully. Always Be There is a spectacular debut from Vast Conduit. They’re like storytellers bringing this theatre piece to life on living in the modern world, and what people do during these tricky times they’re going through the pandemic that happened two years ago.
And it’s quite the journey that you’ll embark on, for the rest of your life.