Vinyl Floor - Peninsula
Vinyl Floor are from Denmark. Your ears, like mine, will fool you into thinking they're from the UK. Their sound, hard to nail down, drifts through Beatles, Cure, Coldplay territories, shapeshifting to permeate the entirety of Peninsula with a warm, embracing mix of emotional overtones, dramatic undercurrents and some flat-out great songs in between. Cited as a conceptual work split into two "sides", focusing on the sharp contrasts of Utopia and Dystopia, the album works with or without this prior knowledge.
"Frames & Orchids" makes a profound opening statement, a moody and melodic overture to pure unadulterated bliss. The string quartet the band utilizes for accompaniment will, throughout the course of the album, typically be the mark of their best offerings, and this is no exception. It's all fairly simple and straightforward as the band hits a mid-ranged groove, but the melodrama of the strings derail your settled-in state in favor of emotional turmoil. "Ghosts Of England" narrows the focus down to a quaint little piano-driven pop track. Forgive me for not knowing his exact name, but the vocalist here shows limitations here in his ability to hit certain higher registers. Some will appreciate his daring and obvious effort in delivering some well-written vocal melodies throughout the album and, although he hits most notes pleasantly enough, there are times when it detracts rather than supports. "What Lies Ahead" has a bit of a gritty fuzz to it's foot-tapping melody, a song that doesn't quite go the distance but is a wonderful tease. No, it's the soft and placid emotionality of "Written in the Cards" that pays off; soft acoustic weaving a template for the vocalist to stretch some beautiful vocal harmonies across. The strings add impact but this song would unfurl all the same without them, a true highlight. "Car In The Sky" is a softer rocker, a decent track that will certainly perk the ears of most Coldplay fans out there. "Diverging Paths", perhaps a minute or two too long, is still a decidedly vital part of the record with it's dark guitar hook and percussion that, elsewhere on the record, seems totally satisfied in hiding back in the mix.
While the rest of the record fights to keep up, Peninsula has enough steam left to hit the finish line to the sounds of applause. A breath of fresh air that doesn't do much different but combines a lot of the same together in a way to make it decidedly different at times. As confused as you may be, that is the ultimate sumnation of Vinyl Floor, a few guys who seem to know exactly what buttons to press to incite reaction across the human emotional spectrum. They do it well and, barring a few so-so tracks, offer up a how-to on alternative/progressive entitled Peninsula.
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