Oh, those heady days at college: driving a Fiat Panda playing in a punk band and listening to only, and I do mean only, this album. It had, and still has, everything: beautiful vocals (courtesy of the ladies' choice front man Terry Abbot), hard-edged guitars, some serious sampling and a massive production by Ross Robinson. This album pretty much changed my life.

For a long time, Vex Red were just another unsigned local band from Aldershot in Hampshire until one day they were plucked from obscurity by Ross Robinson (of Slipknot fame). For almost a year they disappeared from the scene before returning with a new album, a new tour and, if the initial press was right, a whole new life of fame and fortune!

For pretty much 18 months I listened to this album repeatedly. It smoothed over my transition from college to university and gave me a constant base. I know that sounds odd, but throughout that time it seemed like one of the most stable points of my life. To put this in perspective I used to travel backward and forwards from Cardiff to London and I used to know whereabouts I would be in the journey depending on whereabouts in the album I was. (Sad I know, but I know all the words too!)

This album is nearly impossible to review. It has such a close personal meaning for me that I almost feel I can’t do it justice. In my honest opinion tracks three, four and five ('Can’t Smile', 'Untitled' and 'Itch 'respectively) are the three best tracks on the album. 'Can’t Smile' is just a breathtaking song. The beautiful verses and huge (and I do mean huge) sing-along choruses, a crazy little middle eight thing and the ability to sing "Genie in a Bottle "over the last chorus all make this the best song ever written! The track 'Untitled' is just lovely. It lulls you into its gentleness and then suddenly breaks into an epic. This is my favourite track on the album by a long shot. Last, but not least, is 'Itch'. This song takes things up a little in the speed stakes, coming complete with fast moving riffs and a pretty awesome (if cheap) video too! Oh and if you want to hear the most overblown last track of an album, make it this one! 'Vert' has the craziest feedback looping random noise ending of any album I have ever heard.

When the band broke up April of last year I was in uni. I found out in a 24-hour computer lab at about 4 in the morning and I nearly frickin died. I suddenly thought to myself,

“Shit, why didn’t I go to more of their gigs?”

But, hey, things move on (I sound like a blimmin' Take That fan now!). New bands come and fashions change, but for as long as I live this album will stay etched in my memory. Each of its songs has its own set of images attached to it, of things I did, girls I dated, gigs I played and a whole load of other stuff too personal to say here. Whether this makes it a classic album or not is debatable, but to me it is the best album ever crafted. If you can find a copy somewhere at the back of Virgin or wherever then buy it and think of me.













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