For Nearby Stars (Evil Teen)
by Jamie Kiffel
Lie back on the warm upcurrents, arch your back and float up into the harmonic, musical stratosphere. VPN‘s catchy, upbeat pop moves like a headful of helium sprinkled with lyrics that could either be mixed-up clippings of great literature or merely smile-worthy, glue-huffed inspirations. No wonder the band is called Very Pleasant Neighbor: Singer Austin Hughes, friendly boy tenor is absolutely pleasing, light, and pure. It’s also no wonder National Public Radio has featured their special sibling harmony (Austin, Pat and Jean are related).
Unlike most “indie” bands out there, which force-fed alterna-kids messy atonal noise and long, tuneless atmospheric rants (a kind of paean for a generation without punk), VPN clearly takes its cues from The Beatles: Deliciously digestible pop hooks, surrealistic lyrical twists and kind vocals. This is prime material for the next John Hughes soundtrack. If you want to fly sweetly among apricot, lemon, and cherry pop stars, this is your aural pill to pop.
(PO Box 651 Village Station New York, NY 10014)