Within the first thirty seconds of Black Vincent‘s debut album, frontman Coley Kennedy desperately sings on “Lonely and Blue”, ‘There’s nothing I can say. There’s nothing I can do.’ It is the voice of a solitary figure reflecting on – or even stuck in – the past. These expressions of resent, longing, and remorse are littered throughout the terrific Teardrop Deluxe – an album that touches on the contours of The National‘s depressive and often introspective lyrics while musically moves seamlessly between brooding, cinematic indie-rock and anthemic folk-rock.

In opening with the deep and dour brilliance of “Lonely and Blue”, Black Vincent leaves nothing left for the imagination, essentially telling us to buckle in for an emotional ride. The gorgeous track resonates with the grandeur storytelling and sound of Canadian brooders Timber Timbre while the tender and emotive “Stacy Main” echoes of Roy Orbison and Richard Hawley.

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The band hits their brooding and cinematic highlight on “When We Was Young”. It is a stunning, haunting track that sees frontman Coley Kennedy’s voice echo of Hamilton Leithauser, cracking with emotion as Kennedy recounts an illicit love affair. It is spectacular in its storytelling and mood, akin to the The Tragically Hip’s “Bobcaygeon”.

Even on the upbeat tracks, like the splendid “Friends with Motorcycles”, that has a Neil Young vibe, and “It’s All Too Much”, which buzzes with a Wilco-esque, folk-rock slamdown, the sound may be euphoric but the stories are still of a man that is either down on his luck or one still chasing love (or away from it).

There is one curveball on the album and that is the excellent “Smilin’ Jim is Down Again”, which has Kennedy channeling his innermost David Bowie. Musically and lyrically, the song shares similarities with Bowie’s masterful “Space Oddity” – from the heavy psychedelic reverb that is introduced in every tone to Kennedy’s third-person narration of  the fall of a man named Smilin’ Jim. “Her Love” also has Black Vincent going in a slightly different direction, transforming their brooding, indie-rock into a slow-building, melodic, shoegaze tune. The crystalline guitars, the twang of the steel guitar, and the steady pace of the drums and bass are the highlights. Live, this song could be a marvel of a jam.

While there are several standout tracks on the album, “Her Love” might be the one track that best personifies Black Vincent – a band with the potential to be among indie music’s greats. The songs are thoughtful and endearing, and the music elicits a number of emotional responses, making Teardrop Deluxe one of the year’s most overlooked and under-the-radar albums. This is an album that you must hear.

Black Vincent are Coley Kennedy (vocals); Justin Collins (guitars, keys, vocals); Pete Javier (guitars); Scott Collins (guitars, vocals); Jeremy Barrett (bass); Adam Landry (drums, keys), and Kim Collins (vocals, toms).

Teardrop Deluxe can be purchased on Black Vincent’s Bandcamp page.

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