Victor! Fix the Sun – Person, Place or Thing

Person, Place or Thing coverI first heard Michigan three-piece Victor! Fix the Sun just a few weeks ago by way of 2007’s Retractable Claws, and this album actually came out late last year, but the two records have impressed me enough that I wanted to write a little about the newest one.

If Retractable Claws was reminiscent of Fugazi’s stop-start, experimental post-hardcore noodling, Person, Place or Thing extends its influences to the likes of ex-labelmates La Dispute (were they less histrionic) and Minus the Bear (were they more into screamo and shoegaze). The six songs on this latest release cherry-pick the best elements of post-hardcore to produce something uniquely V!FTS’s own. Taut drums, guitars and bass shift comfortably between carefully structured math-rock rhythms and frenetic screamo thrashing with an occasional foray into the minimalist ambience of the This Will Destroy You / Explosions in the Sky schools of post-rock. In places they even remind me of Brighton’s own Projections – a short-lived indie/post-rock project from Blood Red Shoes’s Steve Ansell – with lengthy, looping, ‘gazey riffs married to yelping vocals.

Opener ‘My Friend the Guru’ ably demonstrates the band’s strong grasp of dynamics as elements of the song shift into the fore and back again, with enough diversity enclosed within to feel like this is actually several distinct pieces seamlessly fused together. But it’s second track ‘We Come From the Northwoods’ that’s my favourite track here, a small epic at over seven minutes in length – half the tunes here are over six minutes long – with some precise guitar lead and tight as fuck drumming in its latter half that has me particularly captivated. Despite the clichéd nature of the repeated line “we’re never going home” the song has an intensity that resonates.

Despite a somewhat daft and, dare I use the hated term, pretentious moniker, Victor! Fix the Sun are an impressive band that seem to be particularly driven to experiment and innovate. Person, Place or Thing is an excellent record, even for those tired of the dozens of mediocre or merely competent post-hardcore bands out there, and I eagerly await whatever the band do next. I just hope they retain the raw passion exhibited here alongside their obvious musical and songwriting chops.

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