Monday, October 03, 2022

Vistas Swap Colour For Monochrome On New Single ‘Back Of The Car’

Since their debut release in 2016, Scottish indie pop trio Vistas have built their career around vibrant, summery tunes. 

From the blue skies of their 2020 debut album ‘Everything Changes In The End’ to the bright oranges of their 2021 follow-up ‘What Were You Hoping To Find?’, their aesthetic and sonic palette has always been teeming with colour. 

However, with new single ‘Back Of The Car’ the band have opted for overcast artwork and a new emotional gravitas that serves to potentially make this their best release yet. 

Opening with a simple two-note guitar pattern drenched in chorus and reverb, the track already feels a far cry from the tunes including sprightly, distorted riffs from Dylan Rush that listeners have become accustomed to. Even while Prentice Robertson’s instantly recognisable voice remains in fine form, his lyrics also feel immediately sterner and frostier than before. The track opens with the verse “I served my sentence in your bed / The city woke up on the wrong side / Yeah, it was something that you said / With my teeth over the cold curbside.” It only takes the first thirty seconds of the track to know that Vistas are embarking on a poignant new sound within their music. 

If there is at least one thing that remains from their music before this release, it’s that Vistas are the masters of the slow build-up. Filtered-out kick drums and Jamie Law’s prominent bass doubling Robertson’s vocals through the pre-chorus build momentum before the first iteration of the chorus, where the guitar is replaced with synth and single bass notes. There’s something distinctly reminiscent of their debut album’s title track in the synth tone, as the band similarly amp up the tension and blow everything out the water with the arrival of the second chorus. 

Retaining the classic middle eight build-up-and-release formula that helped make classic Vistas tracks such as ‘Retrospect’ immensely popular, ‘Back Of The Car’ adds vocals over the top to advance the song’s narrative along with the moshpits. Keen-eared Vistas fans will note one thing in particular here though – in a remarkably spotless discography spanning six years, Robertson has swore for the first time on record! Despite this rarity of profanity – which may have even surprised his fellow band members – it by no means feels unnatural, instead significantly adding to the emotional pathos and desperation of the track: “Twenty-twenty vision in the rear view / I still, I still, I still f***ing love you.”  

Closing the track with another new foray – a half-time chorus – there is a real sense of a new era beginning with the end of these five minutes, one imbued with a whole lot more drama and poignancy than we’ve heard before. Topping their entire discography with a single track let alone one with such an emphatic change in sound is no small matter, but Vistas have certainly achieved that with ‘Back Of The Car’. 


David Harrold 

Image: Vistas ‘Back Of The Car’ Official Single Cover 


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