In two of their most lyrically vulnerable compositions thus far in their career, The Vics demonstrate their immense depth of emotion, musicality, and overall studio prowess with the release of “Fourth and Clay” and “Proud.” Anyone who has been following the east coast indie rock circuit as of late is already well aware of the intimidating reputation that The Vics have created for themselves with their powerhouse music, but I don’t think any of us could have expected just how quickly they would evolve as a group. “Fourth and Clay” shows off how dexterous they’ve become in stitching together refined pop hooks and evocative verses, while “Proud” might be their sharply-appointed swansong, conceived with the intention of welcoming a worldwide audience into their firebrand style of rip-roar indie rock.

Tonality is paramount to The Vics, and that’s made abundantly clear to us in “Fourth and Clay.” Like “Proud,” this song features a supremely high definition mix that leaves little for us to dig through in studying the construction of the track. Even the most muted of details is given top shelf-treatment from behind the soundboard, and though the vocal track tends to steal the lion’s share of our affections, there’s still so much to be said about the unbelievably textured design of the instrumental parts as well. Anyone who likes pulsating grooves matched up with minimalist melodies will appreciate these tracks, but musicians in particular will acquire a newfound respect for this band’s undyingly close attention to detail after hearing this pair of unstifled masterwork.

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“Proud” is more understated than “Fourth and Clay” is, but as previously noted, the physicality of both mixes is so gripping and agile that even the most discriminating of music enthusiasts would have difficulty dismissing the obvious effort put into both of these songs. With “Proud,” we’re not jarred by the sheer force of The Vics, but instead dazzled by the splendidness of the group’s chemistry as a unit. They’ve never sounded quite as on-point as they do here, and if you ask me, it’s a good indicator of what we can expect out of their camp in the near future. Their sonic profile has gotten so much beefier since the release of their first record, and for my money, there’s not a band like them in or outside of the Pittsburgh scene showing nearly as much promise stylistically as they are right now.

The Vics are at the top of their game and ready to take on the world in “Fourth and Clay” and “Proud,” and for those of you who haven’t already had the opportunity to get acquainted with their inventive sound would do well to give these songs a listen upon their release. There’s still plenty of artistic ground left for the band to cover, but you would have to be a completely ignorant fool to discount the amount of progress that they’ve made in this last year. This is an excellent way for novice fans to get to know this truly talented quartet, and even if they’ve already sold you on their originality with past releases, I still recommend checking out both of these songs on the next occasion that you find yourself in the market for new music.

Sebastian Cole