“Julia” is the new single from Liverpool’s The Vow
“Julia” is the new single from Liverpool’s The Vow. The band has a fractured history; they first coalesced in 1989 from the ashes of post-punk trio No Exit and pushed hard to land a record deal but, by 1991, they exhausted their initial creative energy and broke up without ever releasing a single collection. Thirteen years passed before primary songwriter and lead singer Graham Trust, inspired by the death of his father, turned his attention back to songwriting. What began as a solo acoustic collection soon led to a reconstituted new version of The Vow that released their first EP Spacedust in 2011. They have worked in a steady fashion since then and have transformed their sound and songwriting approach to achieve a degree of relevance in an ever changing music world. Their new single precedes the upcoming release of their next EP and, regardless if the single is slated for inclusion on that release, it is a stellar example of the band’s personal and artistic growth that holds up under repeated listens.
If nothing else did, Graham Trust’s writing sets them apart from the vast majority of bands working today. The band has a broad-based sound despite their English origins; they never sound tethered to the culture of their island. Using George Orwell’s seminal novel 1984 as an inspiration for his lyrics, Trust aligns himself with a higher artistic sensibility than we commonly hear from bands working in this stylistic spectrum. Popular music has a narrow array of subjects, usually, but Trust is obviously a cut above the typical pop or rock songsmith. He is able to write in a way that a wide swath of potential listeners will readily comprehend while never sacrificing a high level of intelligence far removed from the concerns of top 40 music. Graham Trust’s vocals are another exceptional element working in the song’s favor. He has an instantly likable voice and the same intelligence heard throughout his writing works its way into his singing as well.
The musical arrangement is the lyric’s equal. Martyn Gilbert’s lead guitar provides a repeating melodic motif for listeners to follow throughout the bulk of the song and works well with the supporting instrumentation. Acoustic rhythm guitar, likely played by Trust, runs under the surface of the mix adding extra meat to the track and keyboardist Mike Smith brings more color to the performance thanks to his smart playing. Original Vow member drummer Tony Potter is another important piece in the song’s musical puzzle with the hard hitting and consistent pulse he provides for entire track.
It is unclear if “Julia” will be a featured track on the band’s pending EP release or if it should be regarded as a single release and nothing more. Regardless of its ultimate fate, the song shows where the band and their songwriting are at this point in their artistic life and the prognosis for their future work is top notch based on its quality. The Vow is a needed voice in a modern era sadly bereft of thoughtful and developed songwriting.