In the Water is a six-track bluesy stoner rock EP from London’s The Underground Vault. If you love a good old thrumming and thumping beat, listeners are in for a treat.The Underground Vault was showcased as “Band of the Month” on my radio show, “The Midnight Hour,” in October. “The Midnight Hour” is broadcast by way of “CrowZone Radio,” Friday at 9pm London time and “Metal Meyhem Radio,” Sundays at 5pm.
The Underground Vault’s In the Water follows the band’s 2017 debut, Dawnbreaker and the collection does not disappoint. The opening cut, “Colt,” has a solid drum intro leading to more of a rock beat, complete with punchy blues flavored vocals. Imagine you are in an Old West saloon with hazy cigar smoke filling the air, while sipping fine bourbon. The word “Colt” is not specifically mentioned during the line, “Gun in my hand,” but the lyrics clearly refer to the classic six-gun revolver. “Colt,” a foot-stomping track, goes down easy and conveys a clear message.
Next up, “Everymans Fantasy,” starts with a heavy guitar tone, punkish vocal work and an unfaltering rhythm line. The lyrics are wistful, perhaps hopeful, as the guitar lead creates a sense of longing via a pure rock vibe. The third track, the title cut, also has catchy drum play before straightforward lyrics reveal a story about the loneliness of living in the city. Similar to the entire EP, “In the Water,” the longest song on the album, is well-produced and mastered. Band members succeed in making their instruments sound water-like. The slow guitar intro, hi hat and steady pace give the impression of a stream slowly burbling by.
The Underground Vault lineup includes Blair Dollery – lead guitar, vocals; Jamie Dove – guitar; Pete Sadler – bass; and Dan Young on drums. Enthusiasts will hear the influence of Blair Dollery’s beefy jazzy fret runs during “Heal the Wounds.” Hungry, encouraging words induce a sense of accomplishment, but with a sad undercurrent. The song seems to touch on mental health issues – particularly among relationships and the pain people can cause each other to feel – though there always is hope that the pain can be overcome by living in the moment. “Heal the Wounds” is an emotive track and sure to touch listeners deeply.
A personal favourite continues to be “Love is Hate.” At first listen, you may think this is the usual teenage rant about unrequited love. You would be wrong. Thick blues rockage smoothly blends with Dollery’s haunting punk voice. The lyrics, about a lad’s night out, phat sounds all the way, confess confusion over the youthful antics of girls and boys. “Love is hate/love is freedom/love is hate/keeps us human,” lingers with the evocative tribulations most can identify with in trying to understand themselves and the world at large. Sometimes sensitive, yet fun and always enjoyable, In the Water deserves regular listening. Hopefully, this is a precursor of more music to come.