November 20, 2009

Jacob Vanags: Pulses Are Pluses

Jacob Vanags, a Kent (OH) native who spend most of his time in New York, is labeled as a piano rocker and he tries to live up to that tag. On his new EP Pulses Are Pluses he is aided by drummer and trumpet player, Zach Periharos on drums and trumpet and Nick Cantatore on bass. But something went wrong - there is no connection between the three. In the opening track All That You Have Vangags enthusiastically "woo-woo's" when they come to the bridge, but they other guys are just standing there, hitting the occasional drum or strumming the bass. And Vanags reacts by singing even louder for the remainder of the song.

The other tracks are uneven too. Toss Up gets drowned in a militaristic back beat. Antarctica suffers from a cheap keyboard sound and Antarctica is a song that should have ended up on the floor during the recording of Robbie Williams inspired tribute album. He has trouble with cramming all the words into a song (Stuck and Speak Up Now). The slow closer Jonah's Dream is the only song that comes into his own. There is no rush and he doesn't want to proof anything, except singing the song well and using the piano as a melodic and percussive instrument. Vanags can sing, but he should stop trying so hard and keep it simple. As it stands he is no more than a second tier Billy Joel impersonator.

Pulses Are Pluses is a self-released album. Buy it from his website.

  1. All That You Have
  2. Toss Up
  3. Antarctica
  4. Stuck
  5. Speak Up Now
  6. Jonah's Dream


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