In anticipation of his second full-length solo album, singer/songwriter Dave Vargo is releasing a pre-release, two-song teaser EP that sports all of the gentle, airy rhythm and smoke-stained vocals speaking nothing but honest wisdom that he’s become so well-known for. The songs, “This Time Around” and “Battle Burns,” may be only a taste of what’s to come with Vargo’s new record, but they’re a sumptuous slab of Americana that satisfies on all fronts. You don’t need to be well-versed in Vargo’s music to get hooked on this stylish material, which is easily among the very best of his career yet.
Both of these tracks are produced amazingly, in an almost cerebral, surrealist fashion. “This Time Around” is a radiant guitar ballad that comes strutting out of our speakers with a confident swagger even more powerful than its potent, stunning melody. “Battle Burns” is a bit simpler, utilizing a breathable rhythm that shakes like a tree in the wind when its fragile chorus wraps around us, but is equally as gripping and evocative. We’re able to appreciate both songs completely thanks to this clean, crisp mix, which places a strong emphasis on the smaller details within the scope of Vargo’s sound.
The guitar is the star of “This Time Around,” and is generally responsible for creating the phenomenal texture that makes it such an alluring acrylic masterpiece sonically. Vargo’s patient lyricism is always a focal point of our attention, but in this track we really get to understand just how essential the six-string is to his sound. He’s not slinging virtuosic riffs that cut through anything in sight in this song, but at the same time he isn’t forcing the guitar parts to be a stagnant, dragging backing track in the midst of his commanding vocal performance.
“Battle Burns” feels like an old
All in all, this latest EP features two highly infectious songs from a huge talent that has never gotten the full credit he deserves in this industry. Dave Vargo is firing on all cylinders in both of these tracks, and from where I sit it would appear that he’s preparing to really throw the hammer down with this upcoming release. The timing is right for him to make a play for the folk-rock throne, and with material as riddled with emotional and musical substance as what we find here, he won’t have a hard time reaching his destination.
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