I have this tendency to come late to parties. Not in real life, because I’m chronically neurotic about time keeping. But when it comes to new artists, I often find myself falling behind.
For once I’m getting in on the ground floor. V/V is a collaborative side project coming out of Salem, Oregon, and it’s very much in its infancy.
V/V comprises two members of Salem’s indie scene. Bassist Jarred Venti is associated with several acts, most notably Sleep Millennium. Singer and guitarist Blaine Vogt has come in from One More Story. In their own words, they formed V/V ‘Out of a mutual yearning to create music without any sort of constraints or expectations.’
On September 6th, their first track “Man on Fire” appeared on Bandcamp. Compared to what I’ve heard from both Sleep Millennium and One More Story, “Man on Fire” does represent a change in direction for both artists.
It hinges on some dirty fuzz guitar and some low slung meaty bass. A comparison to Royal Blood came almost instantly to mind. In terms of vocals, Vogt channels Trent Reznor. There’s a raw beauty to his voice, which is only enhanced by the distortion layered over it.
That’s not to say that V/V is an exercise in imitation. “Man on Fire” teases both a unique sense of identity and intent.
“Man on Fire” is in some ways a darker response to Sleep Millennium’s recent track “Light in the Dark.” The latter has a high-flying, almost inspirational vibe to it. “Man on Fire” carries expressions of spiritual angst, emptiness and harsh criticism of one’s self and the world at large.
Religion plays an important role here. We go from lines in the first verse like these: ‘Hey baby you don’t need any saving. You spent all night praying to a crucifix. Don’t help me even if I’m begging;’ through to this chorus:
And we give, and we give our love
To save our souls in the end
And we give, and we give our trust
To the hands of those who pretend
Interestingly, there is a certain sense of wonder tied into the second verse. Vogt marvels at the content of another’s character. Though this is balanced by self-loathing:
I’m a man on fire
I’m not perfect but I know how to work it
I’m a born liar
You got something that I find so alarming
You’re so genuine
“Man on Fire” makes a striking first impression. What’s also interesting though is that V/V’s entire approach to branding and promotion has created an aura of mystery around the project, which the song lives up to.
Their logo is minimalistic. At the time of writing their Twitter account follows no one. This is conspicuous given Vogt and Venti’s many, many connections. The account only has one follower (me), which again seems odd.
Related images focus on circles and cycles. Rings around the logo. Planets, sunsets, eclipses. There are entire dimensions to this project which are slowly revealing themselves.
I already love V/V. As someone who more or less lives for witch house, I love anything which brings strange symbolism and dark, mysterious energy to music. V/V is coming at this from rock though, which makes it feel fresh and distinct.
V/V have taken their first steps on what promises to be a highly original and fascinating journey. And I am grateful to be along for the ride.
You can find V/V here: