Making the decision to review a new band comes with its own set of the unknown. First and foremost, you have no clue as to what they sound like or whether they are up to the task.

Such was the situation I found myself in as Relay Rock Show 2 was about to get underway at the Big Room Bar in Columbus on Saturday evening. The second night of the two-night, six-band event sponsored by Relay Recording saw a newly formed trio open the festivities.

Playing their very first gig as Victory Lapse, and coming on the heels of exactly one person recommending they be checked-out, there was nothing to base the decision to review them on other than trust or flipping a coin. I chose the former, because finding new music always an adventure.

David Stone of Victory Lapse
(Credit: H Lee / Music in Motion Columbus)

Comprised of David Stone (guitar/keyboards/vocals), Geoff Spall (bass/vocals) and Brandyn Morit (drums), they had just released their debut self-titled EP on October 6, 2017. They had previously been in local band The Seasonal Help.

Keeping an open mind, I repeated my mantra of “Good music is good music” softly to myself as the band took to the stage.

Spall kicked the opening number off with a deep bass groove on Natalie Portman, from the new EP. It’s a slower, midtempo tune that harkens back to the early 90’s era of alternative rock.

Although there was the expected roughness around the edges, the juxtaposition of Stone’s somewhat softer vocals and the jangly guitar rhythm intrigued me as my toes started tapping along to the beat.

They next played the uptempo Sadsack, keeping things tight. The song reminded me of Sponge in their early years. There was something I couldn’t quite put my finger on, but they now had my laser-focused attention as the venue began to fill with patrons.

The simple guitar picking to begin Busy Am I carried an almost melancholy vibe to it. Its melodic tones were somewhat hypnotizing, while enveloping the crowd in a comforting warmth. Dare I say this should be played on the radio? In this writer’s humble opinion, yes it should be. The crowd loved it, as well.

Geoff Spall feelin’ the groove…
(Credit: H Lee / Music in Motion Columbus)

The standout song of the set was Dark Side Trophy Wife, one of four songs not on the EP. The faster pace of the number carried a feel-good groove that punctuated the midpoint of their time on stage.

Pulling-in the reins a bit, the midtempo A Year Of Firsts washed over the audience. Stone’s keyboard play, along with furrowing bass work from Spall, gave the tune a decidedly Psychedelic Furs vibe, without Richard Butler’s whisky-infused vocals.

They slowed the pace with Virginia Lee, which carried a loose Americana feel to it. The harmonies of Stone and Spall worked well, with Morit’s work on the drums understated, yet purposeful.

Their penultimate number was Every Thought I Had. Full of lugubrious angst, the midtempo pace kept the mood from delving into despair. Once again, Stone’s softer vocals gave the song some added poignancy.

They closed their set with a fourth song from their debut, Honey Lungs. They captured a mid-nineties power pop sound on the number, reminding me of “Freak City Soundtrack” era Material Issue. This is yet another of their songs that would be right at home on the radio.

When it was all over, I found myself wanting to hear more from the trio of Stone, Spall and Morit. Although a bit rough, as I stated before, this band will only get better. That said, after playing just their first gig, I would recommend Victory Lapse for any fans of good music.

Setlist

  1. Natalie Portman
  2. Sadsack
  3. Busy Am I
  4. Dark Side Trophy Wife
  5. A Year Of Firsts
  6. Virginia Lee
  7. Every Thought I Had
  8. Honey Lungs

Victory Lapse – Honey Lungs