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Vaux
THERE MUST BE SOME WAY TO STOP THEM
(Volcom)
Stars graphics

Although itís less than a year old, Vauxís quirky debut, On Life; Living (Volcum), is already hard to find. Thatís because the Denver art-punks just signed a deal with Atlantic, which bought the rights to their back catalogue. But the bandís post-hardcore bravado and wicked three-guitar onslaught make the album worth tracking down. On the first single, "Switched On," frontman Quentin Smith sounds as if he were already nervous about dealing with the major-label devil: "Forget all that you know/Itís all staged, all part of the show," he shrieks over a gargantuan riff.

With their Rocky Mountain penchant for long hair and heaving stoner rock, Vaux bring something new to the screamo party. Their spiritual second home is the Pacific Northwest, where they tracked the disc with producer John Goodmanson (Harvey Danger, Sleater-Kinney). Thatís where the garage-pop organ break in "On Love and Cars" comes from, and it also explains the knack for shimmering choruses they share with Vendetta Red and Pretty Girls Make Graves. The band switch things up with "Four Cornered Lives," a heavy ballad that revels in its own bleakness. Some of their arrangements seem aimless, but these guys are living proof that embracing Black Sabbath can be a crucial step on the road to art-punk enlightenment.

(Vaux open for Thrice this Friday, March 19, at Axis, 13 Lansdowne Street in Boston; call 617-262-2437.)

BY SEAN RICHARDSON


Issue Date: March 19 - 25, 2004
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