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Release Date:
  late 2003  
Reviewed by:
  Once A. Punk  

If you like your bands to pump out most of their songs without much fuss, with plenty of mad organ sounds and an abundance of confidence then you've come to the right place. VCR are a five piece from Richmond, VA who aren't afraid to show a few influences, but have come up with their own brand of noise on this promising, self-titled, six-track, mini-album.

From the word go, VCR pin you back in your seat with an uncompromising blast of energy. They're a bit like Devo on steroids with a female backing vocalist. The first track on VCR, Rad, makes good use of drums and bass, although, for a while, it's difficult to work out what makes VCR's sound so different. But then it becomes plain and simple. There are no guitars but up to THREE keyboard players: Chad Middleton (who is the main vocalist), Mya Anitai and Casey Tomlin.

The next track, Back in Business features a more Stranglers-like bass sound. However, VCR could never be accused of being rip-off merchants, as there's just too much going on for that. With the Stranglers, JJ Burnel and Dave Greenfield mainly used their bass and keyboards as a backdrop to Hugh Cornwell's distinctive voice and guitar. In contrast, VCR, who may have never heard a Stranglers' record in their life for all I know, let nothing get in the way of their keyboards.

On the slightly-slower tempo King and Queen of Winter, Steve Smith's bass and Christian Newby's drums again form the lynchpin. But good use of Anitai's voice adds some variety to the sound, before the whole thing rounds off in a mean and moody style. Likewise, Bratcore features a particularly manic keyboard sound, while DVD has a very Devo-ish opening until VCR quickly remind you who you're listening to with trademark punchy vocals.

Perhaps the best way to sum it all up is the following line from VCR's signature track, We are VCR. In that, Middleton shouts, "We want you to rock, we are the future of rock." And, believe me, it, like the rest of VCR sounds better than it reads!

This CD would certainly make me go to see what sounds like a great live band. And, judging from the pictures on their home page, their fan base is building up. Furthermore, it also gets full marks for value since it's available at $5 from, as well as for overall band enthusiasm. On the evidence of this, VCR have a long and promising future.

Related Links:
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