Victor! Fix the Sun – Person Place or Thing
Ever since they split into The Mars Volta and Sparta, At the Drive-In‘s sound has become victim to endless amounts of copycats and worshippers that don’t do the innovative emo/post punk/rockers any justice. Somehow, Victor! Fix the Sun manage to flirt with the sound of bands past – the distorted intensity of At the Drive-In and the subtle emotion of American Football, without coming across as unoriginal fanboys. On Person Place or Thing, the band manage to explore a large sonic landscape in six tracks, creating their own sound along the way.
The record’s opener is “My Friend the Guru”, a track that shows you the band’s ability to shift dynamics without losing momentum or coherence. The trio even venture into Black Sabbath territory before transitioning into a fantastic closing section that wouldn’t feel out of place on a Fall of Troy record. However, the second track, “We Come From the Northwoods”, is where the album picks up. Its over seven-minute timeframe allows the band to explore dynamic landscapes, switching from nervous complacency to aggressive anxiety before forming one of the most emotional sections of music I have ever heard. All instrumental, it is a piece that any post-rock band would (and should) be jealous of. Without exaggeration, this is one of the greatest songs I have ever heard, and the emotion is so powerful that it gets me every time.
Unfortunately, “Paperthin Feather Fuck” is as uncomfortable as its title suggests – pretentiously awkward vocals begin the song along with an uninspired piece of music. It is not until the bridge that the track feels even remotely like the same band that showed up for the first two numbers, and it goes to show that this band is best when they aren’t trying to be something that they are not. “Blind Man’s Bluff” is another oddball; at just over two minutes, it is almost the polar opposites of the four epics that make their way onto the disc, but the band actually manage to package enough intensity into its short length to warrant praise.
The album closes with two tracks that venture over the six-minute mark, and the band make use of this sonic space. The title track grooves along before resulting in a heavy section that makes Victor! feel much more like a metal band. “Infested, Mother Approved” dips and dives like some of its predecessors, but features some of the most intense and desperate vocals on the disc. These two tracks are a perfect bookend.
Despite one misstep along the way, Person Place or Thing is a phenomenal effort from a band that is bound to make an impact. Don’t be surprised if bands start trying to copy Victor!’s sound in the future.