John Vento Give us His ‘Love, Lust & Other Wreckage’

John Vento

John Vento experiments with the depth of his sonic profile like never before in the all-new Love, Lust & Other Wreckage. It is currently available everywhere that independent music is sold and streamed.

Vento, a Pittsburgh-stationed artist who’s never been all that big on genres or any sort of labeling in general, conjures up some of his most articulate and acerbic musicality ever in this record, employing a much tighter setup than he did in 2011’s Wayward Soul (a record I thought he’d have a much harder time topping). If anyone thought that this guy had hit his ceiling years ago, they, along with their nonsensical notion, are effectively shut down by the time we get through the first song, “A Good Life Made,” and get into the guts of the ska-flavored opening salvo that brings us to the heart of “Let Me Down Easy.” No matter what he plays on this LP, whether it be folk-rock ala “I Hope I Don’t Fall in Love with You” or old school pop in “Rainbows & Lightning,” Vento never goes cheap and cuts corners in his execution of surreal melodies and iconic rhythms.

“Let Me Down Easy,” “Only Love Stays Alive,” “Just Don’t Care” and “I’ll Be Still” have very conflicting, though similarly experimental, patterns of construction that tell me a lot about where John Vento is at in this stage of his career. Unlike previous releases, which seemed to have a more restrained sensibility (especially towards the end of any given track listing), Love, Lust & Other Wreckage has quite a relaxed, open-ended feel that was never present before. Vento seems so at home in the studio here, so much so that it’s tough for me to picture him making “Follow Your Heart,” “Eye Candy,” “Well Yeah Maybe” or “Humble Way” any more thrilling live and in person than he already does in this record. The best part of all this is that as epic as all of the material is, it isn’t artificially propped up with a bunch of technologically produced samples and auto-corrected pitch software. This is the real deal from a raw artist who is more in touch with his work than any of us could have anticipated.

While Love, Lust & Other Wreckage doesn’t reinvent the wheel with its sleek tonality and unfussy lyrical gems, this LP speaks to a self-awareness that John Vento has clearly been reticent to expose in past recordings but selflessly presents us with here. He’s put his craftsmanship on overdrive in this album, with wickedly fun results that I can vouch were well worth the wait. This is one of those records that you can literally jump right into on shuffle and find yourself completely captivated with the flow of the songs, which says a lot when you break down just how incredibly different each one of them are both stylistically and from a basic compositional perspective as well. Vento knocks another one out of the park with Love, Lust & Other Wreckage, and certainly leaves us itching to know what he’ll come up with next.

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Scottie Carlito