On “OUT SOON”, meanwhile VAGUE’s third album, the band not only traces the existential interaction of past and future in the title, but also poses the big question of what it means to grow older. While time may be linear, your own development in existence is fundamentally different. And how brief the cornerstones of our biographies actually are overall: collages of ecstasy in any form of new discovery, nights full of concerts in the waves of “belle jeunesse”, the initial indomitability of love, which may gradually ebb away and into the big feeling of jealousy takes over. The configurations “in the stream” of time move and change inexorably, until suddenly, like after a rush, new question marks appear in front of you – what happened and who have you become?
But VAGUE aren’t panaceas, they don’t give any definitive answers, rather they allow themselves the unpretentious depiction of real scenes that are close enough to touch, of simple but genuine feelings, and focus on what isn’t actually being said. After all, does getting older mean having answers at all?
The five-piece band still keeps their composure and only offers a foundation for the reminiscence of their listeners. It is probably also due to the fact that the band moves far away from clichés, they rather appreciate the (pop culture) quote here and there: So it is not surprising that, although this album may sound more psychedelic than the two predecessors, it also sounds a lot looks tidier and more meticulous. The excessively washed-out reverb tails give way to the targeted use of synthesizer layers to maintain the atmospheric depth of the created space without having to lose a newfound directness.
In the almost 57 minutes of “OUT SOON” you experience a few intimate moments of existential heaviness, only to be sent back onto the highway towards the sea the next moment. It is this field of tension in which VAGUE seem to move effortlessly – there are big feelings and small gestures, the immediacy of authenticity, and also the simple lightness of being. At their best, VAGUE sound like the band has been around since the 70’s. They don’t shy away from taking on the music of their parents’ generation, so songs like “Elektrische Tage” or “Im Strom” (the two German-language songs on “OUT SOON”) immediately evoke parallels to the early Krautrock pioneers “Kraftwerk” or “Can” . Well, that’s kind of fake, but “Money” or “On Stage” could just as well be lost Pink Floyd songs from their most creative phase. A decade later, “Calling Out Your Name”, “Follow”, “Station” and the grandiose album closer “The Rain” dock on to the alternative to the pathetic pop of the 80s, the “New Wave”. As in The Jesus & Mary Chain, Pale Saints or Galaxie 500, these broad chorus and acoustic guitars mix with repetitive mid-tempo grooves, embedded by the wonderfully arranged synthesizer surfaces, which all leave plenty of room for the important things: The melody is never here something in the way. And at the same time there is a lively pulsation in the background that never wants to impose itself. It is almost masterly how the reduction to the essence of the songs is worked out, so producer Wolfgang Möstl proves once again how well he knows how to underline and emphasize the qualities of a band.