Independent Clauses | n. —unusual words about underappreciated music

Vindaloo-Diary of a Traveling Salesman

May 1, 2006

vindalooBand Name: Vindaloo

Album Name: Diary of a Traveling Salesman

Best Element: Crunchy guitars, rocking leads, toe-tapping beats

Genre: Modern Rock/Grunge

Website: www.sonicbids.com/Vindaloo

Label Name: n/a

Band E-mail: www.myspace.com/vindaloorawks

Vindaloo is, by definition, “super hot” and ready to rock your face off. Even so, this album is no messiah to the world of rock. Don’t get me wrong- their 2005 release Diary of a Traveling Salesman has many good things happening in it, starting off with the rocking title-track of the album.

Seattle-based Vindaloo gets the album kicking with a nifty guitar riff and crashing drums that lead into a toe-tapping frenzy of rock. The noise quickly dissipates into a calming web of bass chords and Benjamin Harwood’s gruff vocals flowing over his clean guitar.

The album carries on to noticeable track “Looks”, where Harwood and bassist Matt Fortin’s solid rhythm begins a head bobbing verse that blossoms into full on head-banging carnage. Harwood extends the carnage as he slays through his listener’s peace with a simmering guitar solo sure to get even the mildest rocker pumping their fist.

Vindaloo cools it down with the very next track showing a little of their versatility as they launch into one of their softer tunes “Suffer for Now”. Proving they aren’t a bunch of softies, however, they fire right back into rock with “Zombie Love Song” whose intro involves a tasteful mix of straight palm-muted eighth notes and open distorted chords.

Perhaps the most intriguing track on the album is “Eccentric”, a five-minute rocker with a killer intro of light guitar and high wailing harmonics that dives into a thick rhythm. Harwood’s voice comes in sultry and heavy atop the music, eventually joined by the rest of his band who sing haunting back up to his lead. The song maintains an eerie feel throughout until its end, flowing into the light yet well written “Stuck in a Rut”.

The last song on the album ends Vindaloo’s effort with a bang. Beginning with a guitar delay effect that makes one want to get up out of their chair and beat box on the spot, “Swingin’ on the Devil’s Toe” stumbles into a foot-stomping song that has rock’n’roll written all over it. Reminiscent of Black Betty and Clutch, this song combines fast verses and a slow chorus to produce one fine rock tune.

As a whole the album contains several good rhythms and leads, and drummer Adam Kozie lays down solid percussion throughout to keep the boys on tempo. Harwood and Fortin’s guitar and bass playing are excellent throughout the album; there’s no doubt that these guys know how to rock.

Harwood’s responsibilities as lead guitarist and vocalist, however, cause his vocals to suffer in some of the tracks. He proves himself as a capable singer in the soft tracks like “Suffer For Now” and excels his grunge style vocals in “Looks” and “Zombie Love Song”, but during some of heavier lines Harwood’s voice is lost in the chaos of rock.

Vindaloo is nothing new to rock, but they do incorporate the finer elements of grunge, modern rock, and even the good ol’ nitty-gritty rock’n’roll the whole world loves. Seattle has been known as a great music town for years, and with Diary of a Traveling Salesman, Vindaloo do their hometown proud.

-Erik Williams

endlesscreed@charter.net

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Stephen Carradini and friends write reviews of bands that are trying to make the next step in their careers.

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