Independent Spotlight is a continuing series on Stewart’s blog. The series revolves around independent artists and bands sending their music to Brett to review. No band is promised a positive review, and all music is reviewed honestly in an effort to better independent music.
In this evening’s edition of the Independent Spotlight, we’re going to be delving into Vitne, the moniker of Joseph Kimbrell. His new effort is a six song EP entitled ‘Endless Blue.’ He’s a Norwegian artist from Oslo and this is his sophomore endeavor, following his highly received 2013 debut, ‘Neon.’ How does ‘Endless Blue’ stack up to its predecessor? Let’s find out.
‘Endless Blue’ begins with a fascinating instrumental, ‘Rain of Hope.’ It’s simplistic and short, essentially making the album five songs and an introduction. Vitne’s moody electronic guitar superimposed over rain sound effects is eerie and dark, even brooding. I found this immensely entertaining, because as soon as ‘Rain of Hope’ closes, the hard-hitting title track begins. The track is dramatic, pop-infused, and very different than the sound ‘Rain of Hope’ suggests in the first minute.
The pop-anthem nature of ‘Endless Blue’ subsides for the introspective, softly spoken ‘Himitsu, Village of the Sea.’ The song and its story are quite beautiful, perhaps making it the highlight of the first half of ‘Endless Blue.’ I’d argue that Kimbrell is accentuated much better by softer music; his vocal style feels a bit out of place on the title tune. Here, though, he’s at home and the song is stunning.
‘Serenity’ echoes the nature of ‘Himitsu’ instrumentally. It’s one of the most gorgeous instrumentals we’ve listened to for the Independent Spotlight in a long while, concreting my observation of Kimbrell’s excellence in softer, more deliberate settings. ‘Misery,’ the following track, finds a nice balance between the two, and as a result, is widely successful in its endeavor to pick up the pace after two soft tunes.
Finally, ‘Endless Blue’ closes with ‘The Ocean,’ a peculiar, but intriguing track that has an impending sense of finality to it. It’s worth mentioning at this point that the production this album is remarkably good - nothing feels out of place and everything is mixed and mastered elegantly. Thus, ‘The Ocean’ closes the album out on a moody, atmospheric high note.
‘Endless Blue’ is a very good record, most certainly a worthy successor to Vitne’s successful debut. He’s strongest on softer tracks, since his vocal style isn’t as well suited to ‘Endless Blue’ or parts of ‘The Ocean.’ The whole album is very much worth checking out, but the haunting trilogy of ‘Himitsu,’ ‘Serenity,’ and ‘Misery,’ is the best of Vitne’s work.