doubleVee – Frucus Minus (The Flycatcher)
Few indie releases in 2017 will prove as memorable as doubleVee’s debut album The Moonlit Fables of Jack the Rider. Such an impressive title promises a release beyond the usual prattle we might hear from some of the lesser talents on the indie scene and doubleVee delivers with the first single “Frucus Minus (The Flycatcher)”. Barb Vest offers much to this release, but the artistic excellence largely lies with Allan Vest’s songwriting, sharpened to a fine edge, is the result of a long career that saw him fronting the indie orchestral pop outfit Starlight Mints for a number of years in the first half of the century. They opened for a number of famous or iconic acts during their nearly decade long run and recorded a string of critically praised albums that marked Vest as songwriting talent to respect and watch. This is the next step in his evolution as a recording artist and it sounds like his most natural moment yet.
The big rhythm section swing carries the foundation of the song and is delightfully inescapable. The outright glee the production exhibits in putting square in listener’s faces never relents and when other instrumental sounds, notably Allan Vest’s guitar, come into the fray, it ratchets the musical intensity up another notch. Vest’s guitar work is equal parts melodic gem and occasionally atonal but obviously constructed. How he weaves these disparate parts together is another master class on a particular style of modern rock guitar that draws from various strains of the past. His voice recalls the brightly hued intelligence driving many art and indie rock bands of the past. There’s a slight jangle to his vocal melody that complements similar sounds in the arrangement and gives the song some added weight.
doubleVee filmed a video clip to go along with the song, but the lyrics do a good job of explicating the subject while holding back some. Despite the assertive instrumental presence and strength of Allan Vest’s vocals, there’s a fair amount of sensitivity and humor in the words. This is further reinforced in the video, but both mediums are likewise careful to stress the weird/odd mood of the song. It doesn’t have these qualities in such a way that it renders the track inaccessible – far from it. The balance of the idiosyncratic and commercial heard in this track makes it all the more impressive. Vest’s vocals mesh well with his wife and they often hit inspired peaks at ideal an dramatic moment – which is no mean feat in and of itself given the tune. “Frucus Minus (The Flycatcher)” is a compact and economical tune that never risks self indulgence. The Vests sound like artists who entered the studio knowing exactly what they wanted to accomplish and they do so with a minimum of apparent fuss. This is something great to play for someone who believes the indie rock world holds no real surprises. This is a powerhouse single that deserves your attention and will give you a slight charge, at very least.