September 21, 2000

Test Spins

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The name of this band is an excellent indication of the wide-open soundscapes on its sophomore effort. Although comparisons to Radiohead, NIN and U2 are the most obvious touchstones in Crosby’s music, VAST is a unique amalgamation of all these influences and more.

Crosby’s main songwriting gimmicks are including samples of spiritual music in many of his songs, and adding an 18-piece orchestra to the traditional rock line-up.

Haunting hymns glide in from the background on “Song Without A Name” and “What Else Do I Need,” while sweeping strings give the songs an orchestrated feel.

At times, though, Crosby’s artistic vision crosses the line into pretentiousness. The closing instrumental “Lady Of Dreams” is unnecessary and overly sweet. And the Bono-esque “I Don’t Have Anything” flagrantly rips off early “80s U2.

Though he has not yet crafted a perfect album, Jon Crosby is showing signs of progressing at a phenomenal rate.

As Crosby slowly sheds his reliance on his influences and starts using his own obvious creativity more, we can only expect to see better and better things from this band.

Archived article by Ed Howard