Album Review: The Vacant Lots – Closure

By: Cody Englander, Contributor

[Fuzz Club; 2022]

Rating: 6.5/10

Key Tracks: “Thank You”, “Burning Bridges”, “Obsession”

Closure” is the first project I’ve heard from The Vacant Lots, and it certainly won’t be the last. This is the most recent album from Jared Artaud and Brian MacFayden, with the alternative and electronic sound they are known for. This album cover is a piece of stark, abstract, black and white minimalist art, which is fitting for the experimental sound of the duo. The album comes in at a brief 23 minutes with just 8 songs, and is well worth a listen. 

Read more: Album Review: Alex G – God Save the Animals

“Thank You” is the opening track to the album, and has a beat that sounds like it could be on an early Death Grips track. The instrumental morphs into this wonderful opener for the album as the track unfolds. The distant and deep vocals compliment the instrumental and give it a grimey and dark feel, making it one of the more original tracks off the album.

The songs until the track “Obsession” are decent, but they feel reminiscent of other artists, and lack a sense of originality. While this doesn’t make any of the tracks bad, it brings down the album from the promising introduction. Much of the vocal production and performance is inspired by The Weeknd and misses out on the originality promised in the first track.

“Obsession” is another stand-out track that incorporates some dystopian sounds into the mix. The song is upbeat, has a good use of the distant vocals, and doesn’t overstay its welcome, which is something that applies to every track. Had this album been even two songs longer, it would be worse, but the entire album is very quick and never feels as if it wastes my time. 

Chase” is a slower song that isn’t bad, but doesn’t fit in with the rest of the album. However, the two closing tracks after this are two of the best the album has to offer. “Red Desert” is extremely emotional, and the little twinkle among the greater instrumental noise is a small addition but makes the song feel special. The vocals get drowned out in this track, but that feels purposeful as opposed to a mixing issue. 

Burning Bridges” is a great ending track, and really pulls the album together. On all of my listens through the album, this was always my favorite. The conclusion of the album really resonates with me. Maybe it’s personal preference, but this track isn’t a grandiose conclusion; it’s a nice emotional ending to the past 20 minutes of buildup.

This album isn’t groundbreaking, and if you go in expecting a groundbreaking indie alternative record, you will be disappointed. It’s a quick listen that doesn’t ask too much of the listener, and the passion is clear from the start, even if it doesn’t carry over to every song. 

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