Founded in 2006 by Cody Cloud, this band’s name might strike you as a reference to transportation, but the band had “transformation” in mind instead. Hailing from Wichita, Kansas, these guys are about to release the fifth installment in their set of “vehicles” that move us through different fields of emotions and thoughts. Does their upcoming album “Belief in Habits” deliver as much as it promises, though?
The first track, “Diamonds and Rhinestones,” begins with a bass intro by Mr. Tony Hull that feels melancholic and sad in some way, but then we are quickly transitioned into a keyboard/synth melody that continues for most of the song and feels uplifting, as opposed to the first impression we were given. As Mr. Cody Cloud begins singing, I’m immediately reminded of singers that have grit and emotion in their singing but also feel light and playful, such as Sting and Bono of U2. Really powerful starter.
The second track, “Sirens,” feels very reminiscent of Jordanian band “El Morabba,” which Vehicles probably doesn’t know, but it’s just this alternative rock/post-rock approach with long verses of melodic guitars and the shreddy solo by the great Isaac Pearson.
The third track, “40 Hour Angels,” begins with a very catchy drum pattern played by Mr. Thayne Coleman and some melodic guitars once again. The chorus of this song is extremely upbeat and has a different drum pattern that feels bouncy. Keyboardist Cale Gubitz gives this track a very ambient, atmospheric feel with his keyboard lines on this one that made it really stick with me.
The fourth track, “Fighter Jet,” felt like more of the same, but with a little slower tempo than the previous tracks.
The fifth track, “Keep The Receipts,” feels like a romantic beach song that you can listen to while sipping on a Piña colada, and it has the most beautiful lyrics on the album in my opinion. I’ll definitely remember this one the most out of the rest of the bunch. You’ll also be surprised that the most chilled and relaxed track has the heaviest and most rock-n-roll sounding solo on the album.
The sixth track, “Brooklyn,” begins with an awesomely emotional vocal performance that gave me goosebumps. This song was dark and felt like it was speaking through the band’s melancholic side and trying to instigate some dark feelings inside of you. With a killer guitar solo from Mr. Isaac Pearson, who really astounded me this time.
The seventh track, “Histrionicomma,” feels like another chill song in the beginning but then surprises us with a very 70s-sounding outro with lots of heavy riffing and hard-hitting drums that have you banging your head and wishing to hear this track in concert.
The eighth track, “Avalanche,” feels very straightforward and very Pop-Rock-ish and is a pleasant listen overall, but nothing really stands out here.
The ninth track, “Parade,” feels very reminiscent of 90s Alternative Rock bands like REM and the Cranberries, and I really loved it.
The tenth track, “Devil in The Room,” has an awesome synth melody that sticks in your head as well, and at this point, it’s beginning to feel like the band really knows how to paint a mental picture with their melodies very well. What an awesome solo that dances along to the drumbeat!
The eleventh and final track, “Eye Que,” feels like another one of those synthpop tracks that the album is full of at this point. At the end of the track, we have a long outro that fades into silence.
What a journey this album was, from the 70s all the way to some 90s elements. Many awesome influences and likeness to other bands can be found here but without compromising on the very prominent innovation, especially with the awesome melodic guitar playing and solos.
What drew me away: the songs might feel like they’re dragged a little bit, with extended intros and outros and what feels like short breaks between the verses and choruses, or between the solos and returning to the chorus once again in some tracks. But don’t be mistaken, as this is a trope of the tracks and genres vehicles draw their influences from, but not in any way a setback. By the time you reach the fourth or fifth track, you will feel accustomed to it, like it’s a chance for the moody guitars and synths of each song to show their mood and what they are trying to say with the words set aside for a few moments.
What kept me hooked: Each of these songs felt like a movie scene or a whole storyboard because of that, and if this isn’t peak songwriting, then I don’t know what is. For a band that has existed since 2006, I’m pretty sure long-time fans had faith and expectations that were met (and maybe even surpassed), but even for a newcomer to Vehicles like myself, this record feels like it just gets what you feel in its lyrics, and the melodies get you both and take things up a notch by being extended and profoundly expressive.