The members of Vision Through Sound are an intelligent bunch of freaks, which they prove on this compilation of early recordings, the "Dead Band Sampler!"
Freaky vocals, group chants, screams that might be cries for help, and female harmonies wrap around some of the most thought-provoking and mindful lyrics that songwriters Andrew Krolikowski and Franny Berkman have ever written: “Po-Tee-Weet?” is the band’s heaviest, angriest song to date, drenched in political bits that comment on society at large; the zombies and magic tricks that surface in “Abra” meditate on the meaning of decrepit romantic relationships; meanwhile, all tracks are soaked in the dark evidence that these guys have spent a lot of time in their heads, at the library, reading a whole lot of Vonnegut.
But the sampler is a far throw from a downer: Krolikowski’s uplifting, trademark vocals return and take center stage, peeking in and out of Fran Berkman and Mike McManus’s melodic, memorable guitar riffs and bass lines (part psychedelic/dance/funk, part Nirvana/Pixies/Pumpkins) that seem to sometimes fight for the spotlight, all while the three run full speed ahead, away from Mike Sarna’s fast-driving drums. Cameos from Fortune & Spirits members Michelle Kovacs and Chris Fleming on trumpet, flute, violin, and cello, layered over other various accompanists on bird flute, Theremin, xylophone, bells, clapping, grunting, and general freakishness, make for some of the most epic, crazed instrumentals ever to surface from VTS.
“Missionary Men” is undeniably the compilation’s defining track, a representation of the band’s ability to take a dark, terrible situation and turn it into an intelligent dance song.
“I feel that [Missionary Men] defines us as a band,” says Krolikowski. “This song is an attempt to mobilize those who have had horrible things happen to them; to look atrocity in the eye and laugh, but not mindlessly—always being aware of it, but also being aware of the power of the human spirit to be able to overcome these things. I have lost my faith in a lot of things, but this song is a reflection of my faith in the power of music, and even though a song can’t single handedly right all of the wrongs in the world, it can hopefully at least bring people together to give living an enjoyable life a try.”
Though the compilation is the last of the songwriting and skills that Sarna and Berkman both have contributed through the years, (perhaps the reason for the band’s self-proclaimed “death”), both Berkman and Krolikowski's lyricism are undoubtedly the band’s biggest evolution and this body of work’s biggest accomplishment, keeping spirits high that there will be reincarnation and several years of future lives for Vision Through Sound.
In light of the release of VTS’s sixth album These Things Happen…
the band has compiled 23 songs spanning from their past five albums to create the Dead Band Sampler! All tracks were recorded between 2003 and 2008. Dinosaurs in Vietnam is proud to make it available for free download here on BandCamp. Hope you enjoy it!
released July 3, 2010
Vision Through Sound was:
Franny Berkman: Guitars, Vocals, Bass, Keys, Theremin
Andrew Krolikowski: Vocals, Guitars, Piano, Bird Flute
Michael McManus: Bass, Guitars, Vocals on 2, 4-7, 11, 13-15, 17-23
Mike Sarna: Drums, Percussion, Occasional Grunt
Keith Berkman, Will Forthman, Nick Lee, Thomas Moran, and Ray Marté: gang vocals on 11 and 19
Michelle Femminella: vocals on Tracks 11, 13, 17, 19, 23
Chris Fleming: Trumpet on 13, 21, 23
Johnny Hoblin: Xylophone on 19
Michelle Kovacs: Violin on 13, 21, 23
Clarke Pearson: Bass on 3, 8, 10, 12, 16
Tracks 1-4, 6-7, 10, 12, 14, 16, 18, 22 Recorded and Produced by Dave Caggiano and Sean French
Tracks 5, 11, 13, 15, 17, 19-21, 23 Recorded by Ray Marté at Double Vision Studios, Massapequa, NY
Tracks 8-9 Recorded by Andrew Krolikowski and Hugo Lopez
All tracks recorded between 2003 and 2008
Front Cover Logo by Mira Veikley
Compiled by Will Forthman and Andrew Krolikowski
VTS would like to thank everyone who has helped us at home and on the road. Especially all of those who have given us a place to stay. We would also specifically like to thank Jason Briggs, (Bob) Mike Pilo, Jordan Bokor Warner, and Tom Moran for filling in as touring musicians when we were in need. For everyone who has kept the pulse of this band going and has inspired us through your love, kindness, and reactions towards our music, this is for you.
Released on Dinosaurs in Vietnam