John Vento releases “Love, Lust & Other Wreckage”
Be it the rolling basslines that burn their way through a blistering harmonica and shape the strength of “A Good Life Made,” the shimmer of the poignant strum in “Eye Candy,” the punkish strut of “Humble Way,” the exotic beats of “Follow Your Heart” or the 60’s-style harmonies that make “Only Love Stays Alive” glow like a classic rock standard, John Vento’sLove, Lust & Other Wreckage has got something to suit almost any mood or setting. Released last year to overwhelming accolades, Vento’s most recent studio work is a forty-nine minute juggernaut that touches on folk, rock, smart pop, alternative country and even a dash of jazz rhythm every now and again, and encompasses some of the songwriter’s most pointedly diverse output yet. Fiery guitars crash into each other and ascend towards the heavens in “Just Don’t Care,” just as breathtaking reverberated strings accentuate the gruff melodicism of “I Hope I Don’t Fall in Love with You.” For every elegiac moment (the ominous “Just Don’t Care,” “Baby Blues” and the patient “I’ll Be Still”), there’s a burst of freewheeling spirit (“Rainbows & Lightning,” “With You,” and “Well Yeah Maybe”) to balance out the mood.
The undeniable contrast that exists between the different tracks in the album isn’t as conflicting as the concept may sound on paper. If anything, Love, Lust & Other Wreckage is one of the more multidimensional releases I’ve had the pleasure of reviewing in some time. The central part of the album, particularly the stretch between “Just Don’t Care” and “Humble Way,” is much more polarizing and complex than anything in mainstream rock, but the transitions aren’t clunky in the slightest. The somber key of “I Hope I Don’t Fall in Love with You” rolls right into the more upbeat “Eye Candy” without ever skipping a beat; much like a progressive album, the energy seems to coincide with the typical ebb and flow of human relationships and their ever-changing dynamics. I get the feeling that this record was conceived out of a lot of soul searching on Vento’s part – the substance of these songs seems far too personal for that not to be the case.
John Vento continues to impress critics and fans alike with this latest addition to his already stellar discography, and I would actually recommend this as a great starting point for new, unfamiliar fans who are interested in getting to know his music. The attention to detail within the production of Love, Lust & Other Wreckage is top notch, making it easy for us to take in the music in all of its grandeur, and frankly I think it’s the best mixed and engineered LP of Vento’s career. It’s difficult for me to assign a specific label to describe the music that this album contains, as its thoroughly calculated musical persona is as eclectic as it can get without wading into avant-garde territory. A brilliant listen for serious music fans who prefer stimulating content to recycled guitar solos and jaded hip-hop beats, Love, Lust & Other Wreckage is a standout record from an artist whose reputation speaks for itself.