‘Filling our ears with an explosion of technicolour guitar riffs, aggressive drumming and soaring vocals it’s a truly phenomenal sound.’
Intro to Josh Vine
Releasing his debut track ‘Lost in the City’ in 2018, it was clear that London based singer-songwriter-guitarist Josh Vine had an ear for creating a sound that was something special. Soothing, intriguing and captivating in equal amounts, it certainly set the bar high. However, following it up with the ironically awakening sound of ‘Tired’ and the gently soaring sound of ‘Ghost’ each moved it up even further. So, with ‘The Water’ (released 16th August) being his first track for some time – and the first of 2019 – you would probably be expecting it to do the same. Well for now, let’s just say it does exactly that but to a degree that you can’t prepare yourself for.
Beginning almost immediately with what lies at the heart of Josh’s latest offering, a sense of no-nonsense musicality quickly becomes apparent. Texturally it may be sparse. However, with strummed electric guitar bringing inferred energy and the opening lyrics entering only seconds after, it feels wonderfully purposeful. Equally, with Josh’s vocal feeling completely heartfelt through the craftsman-like control of his gravel-centred tone, we are captivated within seconds.
Remaining very much front and centre, as we progress through the initial verse our attention is held without any sense of difficulty. Could this be due to how subtly the guitar lines change? Could this be due to the swelling chords doing likewise? Possibly. However, in truth it is down to the sheer vocal quality that we are hearing. Bringing honesty to every syllable and every phrase, you connect differently each time. There are however hints – if only very subtle ones – that this subtlety itself is to transform.
Arriving at the chorus for the first time, the elements which have been distant in the mix start to become much more dominant. Joined by rhythmically pounding drums, the softer guitar ideas blossom into ringing sustained chords allowing the accompanying features to evolve. Balancing greater force with restraint, it’s the perfect moment to showcase the high level musicality, and the equally high level of co-production brought about by Josh working alongside Billy Ottewill. Initially whispering of forthcoming power, the more intense side of the track starts to emerge and in doing so it fills us with anticipation. Anticipation that is soon to be realised.
Unexpectedly moving away from the drama of what has just been, we find ourselves settling into a sound even more exposed than the opening. Completely a cappela – well apart from a fading guitar strum – Josh delivers the line of ‘Walking around this place’ in a personal, thoughtful fashion. It’s calm. Beautiful even. Then boom! Appropriately synchronized with the line ‘So much life,’ the sound bursts into exactly that. Life!
Filling our ears with an explosion of driving technicolour guitar riffs, aggressive drumming patterns and soaring, rip-roaring vocals it’s an incredible sound. And, with the full-throttle atmosphere firmly established, as we hit the chorus for the second time it develops more than just a bit of an anthemic nature. Honestly, it’s hard to imagine the crowd – or yourself as you listen – not joining in with the vocal hook of ‘Something in the water, something in the air.’ But a word of warning, save yourself something for later.
Almost as though the sound has imploded on itself, after this power-driven drama a subtle – and brief – change of atmosphere is offered up. Focused on combining the contrasting musical dimensions of the track to this point, it’s another tick in the box for musicality and production. Providing a short breather for both us and Josh himself, delicately picked electric guitar fragments come to the fore and bring great contrast. But don’t rest too much, we are about to take off once again.
Building instrumentally through a growing mix of cross-rhythmical tom-toms, multiple soaring guitar lines and selective fragment melodies, the accompanying elements are simply sublime. But, combine this with a sea of statement-filled, multi-tracked, echoing vocals and it’s hard to hear it as anything other than stunning. That is of course until Josh gives us even more in a phenomenally charged, energetically intense, epically showcase finale. Go on, go and musically drown yourself in ‘The Water’ now.