30 March 2018
VETO - 16 Colors
VETO is a Danish indie rock band from Aarhus in Denmark, they formed in 2004 and according to Wikipedia have released four albums before the release of 16 Colors (five if you look at allmusic.com). I've not heard anything by VETO before, but the cover of the album caught my attention. The featureless blue face, surrounded by a vibrant coloured border (this article might get confusing, with two different spellings of the word "colour/color"), it is sort of terrifying as there is nothing recognisable on the cover. But that is part of the mystery, which also makes this album a perfect candidate for our Cover Roulette feature! For new people, I pick an album to review based on the cover alone. The strange image on the cover of 16 Colors intrigues me, there is so much mystery to this album from the outset. So, let's find out how this album has turn out......
01 - 16 Colors
Launching 16 Colors with its title track, which is a cross between the sound of Neu!, the drive of Depeche Mode, the punk drumming of The Hives and it all comes together in one intense opening. The vocals sound as if they have been lifted from a different era, adding a depth to VETO that makes this opening breathtaking.
02 - Measures
"Measures" starts with a funky bassline, ethereal synth effects and a rather pleasant sound, but this all changes at the halfway point of the song. The synth rises like a siren, the drums slow and it all becomes rather dramatic. Singer Troels Abrahamsen sings as if his heart is in peril, the band play as if the room is falling apart and they are playing for their lives, it's a brilliant song that keeps on giving.
03 - A Pit
"A Pit" starts off slowly with an atmospheric guitar sound, little drumming and a focused drive that gives a psychedelic feeling to this album. It has a hint of Depeche Mode to the song, with strings galore on "A Pit". It has a cinematic quality to the music, one which is hard to shake long after the song has finished.
04 - Mount Doom
"Mount Doom" in comparison to "A Pit" is a restrained beast, a song that feels as if the message behind the lyrics is more important than the music. There is a catchy feeling to this number, the way the rhythm grabs your attention is so subtle and I can't get it out of my head. This song is the sleeper hit of 16 Colors, it grows with each spin and I reckon it'll be a killer moment in their live set.
05 - One-Eyed and Dying
"One-Eyed & Dying" is a bass heavy track, one that has a dangerous tone, a primal sound. There is a swagger to the music, one which is not easy to put your finger on. To be honest, at times it feels like it could fall apart at any given moment, but it keeps it together and comes out shining! Add this to the good pile, it's another cracking song from VETO here!
06 - Excited
"Excited" is the first song on the album which slows everything down to a deliberate crawl, given every note space to breath and the effect is breathtaking. "Excited" is a haunting number, one which uses subtly to drive its point home. You have to give this one time, it's not as immediate as the other tracks, but it's worth the effort in the end.
07 - Oh Center
Sounding like the love child of Depeche Mode and Bloc Party, "Oh Center" is one of the crowning glories of 16 Colors. VETO use the synth to maximum effect here, but it's the guitar which is given the chance to shine on "Oh Center". It feels as if it's been let off its leash. I love the tone, I love the lyrics, I love the mad feeling to the music, it's a brilliant song!
08 - I Am Here
"I Am Here" is a messy little number, it comes to life with a slow piece of feedback, then the bass picks up the pace, short followed by more feedback and noise. It never seems to settle down, but it still sounds good in the context of the album. Basically, it's the weakest track of 16 Colors, but let's look at it this way. If the weakest track of 16 Colors is still a good song, how strong must the others be!!!!
09 - Square Shaped
"Square Shaped" takes the same route as "Excited", slowly everything down and keeping it simple. "Square Shaped" is a bass and guitar based number, for the most part, with a gentle sound to the music. It's a beautiful number and to be honest, I think it should have been swapped for the next song to end the album.
10 - The Take/The Pace
"The Take/The Pace" is a final bolt of thunder, the sound of the party being played to the very end with all their passion and power on display. This song struts when others have taken a little longer, being delivered at a measured pace. This is still one of my favourite numbers, one of the best songs on the record once again, but I still think they should have ended on "Square Shaped".
VETO for me are the natural successors to the sound that was pioneered by Depeche Mode on Songs of Faith & Devotion. 16 Colors is the perfect combination of Alternative Rock, Electronica and Dark Pop. Whilst there are elements of other artists in their sound, VETO have a sound all of their own, one which is enthralling. If there was any justice in this world, VETO would be on the ascent all over the world, they sound that damn good. 16 Colors is a dark record, but a beautifully constructed one as well. Are there any drawbacks? To be honest, the only one I can think is that they leave you wanting more. Also, I think the track order could have been re-arranged, but that is just nit-picking. If you can, purchase it now!
9.5 out of ten - Almost perfect, almost.....
Top track - 16 Colors
You can purchase 16 Colors on iTunes here.
You can visit the VETO website here (there is an online store where you can purchase 16 Colors.
You can follow the activities of VETO on Facebook here.
You can stream 16 Colors on Spotify here.
You can stream 16 Colors on Deezer here.
You can stream 16 Colors on Tidal here.
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