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White Lights EP
Artist: Deas Vail
Label: Brave New World
Length: 5 tracks / 17:47

In preparation for its new album due in January 2009, Deas Vail has released a five-song EP, White Lights. This music is pop art from a band that seems well versed in its pop music history.

"Undercover" has a decidedly Elton John (circa Goodbye Yellow Brick Road) feel to it but sounds current with the help of Wes Blaylock's soaring vocals and the shooting bass runs by Justin Froning. The title track features more vocal gymnastics, with a little Jon Anderson of Yes and a nod to Kevin Cronin from REO, but all his own at the same time. "From Priests to Thieves" brings to mind the era of Wings. While this may seem like a negative criticism, don't take it that way. There are similarities in all great pop music. This band has picked up some excellent musical habits from their forefathers.

Rising above are "Last Place" and "Balance." Both are wonderful pop ballads with chiming guitars, lilting melodies, and flowing keyboards. Lyrically, the former offers an inspired message about letting go, waiting on God and putting aside pride. Blaylock's vocal range and dexterity are quite amazing here.

On the final track, "Balance," everything comes together. It features a beautiful lyric, "You are the balance / you are the form / the sails that bring me home," with a transcending arrangement. It's built on seas of keyboards, rhythms driven by the wind, and a magical classical figure counterbalancing the melody. A strong chorus anchors it all. "Balance" is the perfect song to end this little gem of an EP.

On the strength of what is heard on this EP, the full-length release looks like it will be a fine one.

Bob Felberg


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