CD Review: VR Trainers – New Release

The newest release from the VR Trainers is appropriately enough titled New Release. Sure, the title may not be that imaginative, but it is titled after one of the songs on the album, so lets give them a pass. It’s not like the title of an album is the most important thing anyway; as obviously, the music contained within is the most important thing.

VR Trainers are two musicians from Olympia, one a current Western student, one a Western music grad. John von Volkli is the vocalist and guitarist and Jon Bash seems to be the multi-instrumentalist and both helm programming duties. In total, New Release is a short and sweet wad of ear candy – a little bit bubblegum with a handful of pop rocks, washed back with some refreshing lemon lime soda.

Listing Prince, Roxy Music, Kraftwerk and Talking Heads amongst their numerous influences, and that can be heard on the record- albeit in bits and pieces. The band definitely exists in the dance pop rock realm with similarities to No-Fi Soul Rebellion, Eagle Teeth and The West (the latter two of which they played a BEAF show with last month). The music isn’t groundbreaking or genre bending by any means, but it is done well. Of the numerous recordings they have done up to this point, this is their freshest and shows promise.

The highlights on the album were “Attaché,” “New Release” and the closer of the album, “Behavior.” “Attaché” has the catchiest chorus of any cut on the album and features a pretty nifty guitar solo that seems to give a nod to their Prince influence. The guitar solos are the strongest aspect on the album – there are not many of them, but when they do come in, they are perfectly placed and pretty damn tasty.

The band notes on their bandcamp site that they recorded New Release this past winter and was created to “celebrate the arrival of spring.” While, the album is sunny enough, it feels more at home playing during a BBQ or a bike ride through the park, rather than at a raging dance party in one of the many dilapidated houses that oh so many Bellinghamsters call home.