Her Vanished Grace
by Steve Tremain
The melding of genres, although always around, has become so obviously commonplace these days it’s ridiculous, as evidenced by bands calling themselves things like “New Wave-Speedmetal-Industrial-Polka (but with a twist)” and such. Sometimes, the result can be silly and tedious at best. And sometimes, you get things like Her Vanished Grace. Formed in NYC’s lower east side, the husband and wife team of Charles and Nance Neiland successfully blends alternapop, grunge, Goth, and psychedelia into a digestible album with only a few clunkers. Entering with the low key, squeaky voiced beginning of “Trouble,” Soon quickly bursts into a powerfully-voiced jam, all the right elements being present, from the aggressive bass to the reverbed guitar runs. On “Valhalla,” the grunge element becomes obvious in the heavy guitar and plod-stomp drums, but the explorative “Waiting,” with its alterna-pop graces and shimmering guitar, takes care of any notions of them wearing flannel. The next few tunes rock pretty ordinarily, but when you get to “Still So Alone,” the goth element begins to peek out, enriching the music with minor keys and moodier melodies. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a minor element, Her Vanished Grace isn’t about to start donning white face paint, but there’s a slight creepiness, a bit of haunting going on. Of course, the most obvious proof of their Goth-iness is their cover of Siouxsie and the Banshees’ “Monitor,” which has also been remixed several times (on a separate cassingle), one of which was done by Nine Inch Nails keyboardist/drummer Charlie Clouser. They’ve also decided to take matters into their own hands, and not let the winds of fate blow them off. They’ve been touring around, not to play, but to work their own PR, going out to meet their fan base. Rather than being a weak publicity stunt, they actually seem to be interested in what the people have to say, and have gotten a great response from radio, in-store meetings, and (natch) magazines. Just because they took me out to lunch doesn’t mean I’m supposed to like them – even if they did buy me beer. It’s good to see a band concerned with all aspects of their career, and not just handing it over to some dimwitted PR lackey. Like that old adage says, if you want something done right, do it yourself.