SoundsXP: Thee Vicars "I Wanna Be Your Vicar"
Of all the bands recreating that primal 60s beat group sound, Bury St. Edmunds trio Thee Vicars must be included in the top tier. The tightness of their sound surely owes a debt to their near non-stop touring regime, and like this ceaseless approach to gigging, their latest album is like being pebble-dashed by a machine gun loaded with power-garage pellets. A stream of a dozen non-stop "Nuggets" averaging around two-and-a-half minutes each, with the tempo barely letting up.
What Thee Vicars do brilliantly is nailing a bona fide sound. Play these songs blindfold to someone, telling them that it was an archived recording from the mid 60s and you'd have them fooled. 'I Wanna Be Your Vicar' doesn't sound like a studied recreation, a pastiche or a revival; it sounds authentic, it sounds like the real deal. The manner in which these tunes are rattled out gives it the feel of a greatest hits, each track has single potential, but highlights include the title-track, the doo-wop flecked 'Your Eyes' and the searing psych-rock of 'Everyday'.
Comparisons to The Strange Boys are perhaps inevitable. If both bands were to make you a mixtape of their favourites then it's likely many artists and tracks would cross over. Thee Vicars are missing the quirkiness found on some Strange Boys records, but they make up for it by cutting out the boring bits that blight that band's work. 'Lights' is close to the Texans in sound, only with a killer riff, and 'I Feel Alright' is powered by a blues-soaked howl they could only dream of. Calling Thee Vicars retro almost seems like an insult as they sound so natural making this music, they're a garage band to believe in and 'I Wanna Be Your Vicar' is a sermon worth hearing.