Vaults – Caught in Still Life
After releasing several EPs and singles over the course of the last two years, the debut full-length album from London’s Vaults comes with quite a bit of anticipation and fanfare to live up to. The album delivers the payoff that fans have been waiting for and more with a polished mix of deliberate electronic instrumentation and pop showmanship that results in catchy songs with an artistic backbone. Blythe Pepino’s voice is an instrument of undeniable power and range, spanning icy detachment to full-blown glory notes – and every variety of light and shade in between.
The twinkling chimes and self-actualized lyrics of the opener ‘Cry No More’ set the tone as a strong emotional foundation to hang onto as the other songs take listeners on a journey of various highs and lows, but it never feels haphazard or overwhelming; the production is too assured for that. ‘Bodies’ could be a standard radio pop track from many other artists, but Vaults artistry drains it of any manufactured disconnect and invests it with a more personal touch. ‘Orphans’ is the standout though, unfolding with a melodic charm edged in dark mystery. On ‘Caught in Still Life’, Vaults tells stories of reinvention and rebirth, of gambles, second chances and mistakes. The mystic capabilities of Blythe’s vocals keep an audience enraptured. She is quite an enticing narrator.