VEGA – Grit Your Teeth (2020)
Brit melodic rock geniuses VEGA returns with their latest offering ‘Grit Your Teeth‘ and an apt title if there ever was, as this album goes for the jugular right from the off. Hard-hitting and packed with intensity Vega makes no apologies for their gnarly and intense sound that rips through your from the opening track ‘Blind’ to the albums closer ‘Done With Me’.
Vega has been grafting and honing their craft on the road supporting the likes of Skid Row, Last, in Line, FM, Magnum, Joe Elliott’s Down and Outz, Dan Reed Network, and the miles on the road and experience are poured into this fine album.
Bitchin’ guitar work and killer vocals fused with gargantuan hooks make an impression from the off. It’s an edgier sound for Vega.
What do you do with a band like Vega? Full of talent, brilliant songwriters (Def Leppard’s Joe Elliott has worked with them) and fantastic live, oddly up to now the UK 6-piece have been far from a household name.
‘Grit Your Teeth’ may just be the one to change that. Song quality has never been a problem for Vega. Brothers Tom and James Martin, along with singer Nick Workman, have penned tunes for some big names in rock so it’s no surprise that ‘Grit Your’ Teeth has top quality songs throughout.
What’s perhaps different this time is with production duties being handled by Joe and Sam Graves, the band have delivered a fresh, modern sounding record that balances their sense of melody with a powerful, contemporary feel.
As a result ‘Blind’ is notably heavier with a dirty guitar sound from Marcus Thurston, though single ‘Perfection’ is a bright anthem. t begins in very average form by their standards, until a trademark Vega ‘yay-yay-yeah’ chorus kicks in to lift the song to a new plane.
Title track ‘Grit Your Teeth’ has a spacious arrangement with a good groove that keeps reminding me of Little Angels, complete with a mid-section break and solos inspired by ‘Keep The Faith’. ‘Man On A Mission’ modern, heavy and even with a distorted vocal intro from Nick Workman, yet somehow danceable.
While with its searing chorus ‘Don’t Fool Yourself’, ‘This One’s For You’ and ‘How We Live’ are more traditional melodic hard Vega songs, others are more experimental, notably ‘Consequence Of Having A Heart’ and ‘Battles Ain’t A War’, contemporary sounding yet still very melodic with a sweet solo from Marcus and some choral chanting on the outro.
Martin bros have never been afraid to embrace the dominant sounds of 21st century rock&pop in their arrangements, and this is given even freer rein this time, so more traditional classic rock fans will require a degree of open mindedness to embrace songs like ‘Save Me From Myself’.
The album closes with another departure for them in ‘Done With Me’, direct in its approach as it weighs in at under three minutes, with a welter of ‘hey hey heys’.
Initially I wasn’t convinced these were their strongest set of songs yet, and the experiments with different directions mean you need to give the album time to grow on you.
Nevertheless Vega are to be commended for successfully escaping any melodic rock rut, while still managing to add plenty of songs to their ever growing catalogue of live anthems.
02. (I Don’t Need) Perfection
03. Grit Your Teeth
04. Man On A Mission
05. Don’t Fool Yourself Again
06. Consequence Of Having A Heart
07. This One’s For You
08. Battles Ain’t A War
09. Save Me From Myself
10. How We Live
11. Done With Me
Nick Workman – Vocals
Tom Martin – Bass
Marcus Thurston – Guitar
James Martin – Keyboards
Mikey Kew – Guitar
Martin Hutchison – Drums