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July 2002 Pick of the Month
Resplendent ­ Audibly Live
Artist: Vigilantes of Love
Label: Startled Chameleon Records (UK)
Length: 11/52:46

Another album, another record company.  VOL has been on Core, Capricorn, Warner, True Tunes, Startled Chameleon, Pioneer, Compass, Paste, and has released independent albums.  (Did I forget any?)  The mystery of why this group (Bill Mallonee and a cast of thousands over the years) has not been able to find the right situation in which to succeed is a question for the ages.

For those fans who purchased Audible Sigh in all of its various permutations, this album is for you.  Nine of the songs on Resplendent are from that work.  The others are “Blister Soul” and “Struggleville”, classics from previous albums.  The concert was recorded in Cheltenham, England ­ my guess is this CD comprises about half of that show ­ the upcoming DVD will reveal the verity of my opinion.

The band sounds great ­ Audible lineup Bill Mallonee (guitar, harmonica, vocals), Kevin Heuer (drums), and Jake Bradley (guitar, mandolin) are supplemented by the return of Kenny Hutson (guitars, backup vocals).  “Could Be a Lot Worse” and “Goes Without Saying” are the singles that never were.  The aching tale of life on the road, “Nothing Like a Train,” is glorious:

 Here’s another song for Brenda
 Yeah, another tune for Josh and Joe,
 Another postcard from the highway
 My God, where do these days go?
“Starry Eyed” is a gem for young lovers.  And “Resplendent,” a tale of the Depression, still sounds like it could have been written for Johnny Cash; a portrayal of hardship or a man struggling with faith. 

Only one small sticking point, here.  With no less than four versions of Audible Sigh on the market, why not a live album from the Summershine tour instead?  In my case, it’s a small complaint ­ I’ll take anything Bill and the boys have to offer.  Audibly Live gives us a great snapshot of the most underrated, under publicized band of our time.

Brian A. Smith 6/23/2002



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