Vailhalen Pop Violence

Although the resplendently evil cover art may lead one into thinking Calgary, Alberta’s Vailhalen will be bringing something nasty and fun to the world of mainstream music, the result is not quite as revolutionary as depicted. While there is wickedness to spare, a sense of fun also permeates the album, as one would hope with a band name like that. Possessing a baritone similar to Interpol’s Paul Banks, lead man Chris Vail just doesn’t have the blistering intensity as Banks, which works for the songs as they go for a lighter feeling than Interpol. "Awake in Flight” put forth Vailhalen’s statement with ease and energy, as the overlapping organ and crashing drums put an original power pop spin to things. Look to "Tiny Frequencies” for a great example of Vailhalen’s strengths and weaknesses, as the sparse beginning drifts away without connecting, but the song is saved by the rave-up ending, grabbing attention by peaceful, elegant melodies. With a keen grasp of putting people on the dance floor through just the simplest of overlapping instruments and vocals, Vailhalen strike a chord opposite to their album name as violence, even pop-related, may not be the answer after all. (Saved by Radio)