Nico Vega “Lead To Light”
Despite what the name might suggest, Nico Vega isn’t a solo artist, but instead is a three piece from California. They are actually led by lead singer Aja Volkman who is married to Imagine Dragons front man Dan Reynolds, so getting exposure for this release shouldn’t prove too difficult. They will of course need to demonstrate that they have the songs and ability to ensure that interest is prolonged and justified.
The album opens with “No Home” which has an appropriate title as it is hard to fit the song into any specific genre or home. It has an indie/rock, or what the Americans would call ‘alternative’ sound but there is also a synth, almost Euro pop vibe to it. Second track “Dance” also sees the synth feel come to the fore and it has an added pop and almost eighties feel to it. It ends up like a more rocking La Roux, one things for sure, it will certainly get a crowd up and dancing. A similar style is shown later on “Simple”, but in line with the title, that song has a slightly more stripped down sound. Whilst on “I’m On Fire” sees them add an almost R’N’B feel to the song. It’s another example of a song which could be a huge single.
The ‘pop’ side of the band is also shown on “I Believe (Get Over Yourself)”, a song that has a great joyful chorus. It’s got soundtrack to a huge ad campaign and then commercial worldwide hit written all over it. The band shows a different side on “Back Of My Hand” which both takes the pace down and also has a more angular sound that is sweetened only by the backing vocals. Then after a Jim Morrison esque quote which opens “Fury Oh Fury” we get a huge rock song. The level of passion and anger displayed by this track is quite different to the feel of the previous songs.
They also throw in a cover of the classic “Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down)”. It starts off as a faithful, if somewhat gothic, cover but then half way through it explodes in to a techno infused, colossal sound which is just brilliant. They’re also not afraid to throw in the occasional straightforward pop/rock number like “Lightening” and “Lead To Light”. The second of these has an added electronica feel that is actually very reminiscent of The Sounds. The album is brought to an end in a euphoric mood with “Lucky One”.
The reference to The Sounds is pretty relevant as they are another band who moved, although a lot more gradually, from a punk rock to a more electro sound. These bands that straddle that rock –electro pop gap often struggle to find a home as they can be too electronic for the rock fans and too rock for the electro fans. Ironically, bands like Imagine Dragons have shown that this is not necessarily the case. This album should also not suffer any similar fate because it is really great. The biggest challenge Nico Vega should face is trying to decide which song to release as their next big hit single.