Viv & The Sweet Wine – ‘Grace’.
Viv & The Sweet Wine is the brain child of one Vivek Date originally hailing from Mumbai, India but now majoritvely residing in Berlin, Germany. The project is both a solo effort and a three-piece depending on live appearances which in itself makes for a unique output even before you’re away of the two bass guitars and drum-kit approach.
The band regard themselves as “Hendrix Rock” clearly taking influence and inspiration from their self-titles namesake as well as legendary Garage Rock acts such as The Who and vintage Psychedelic trailblazers, Cream. The band have just released their second effort entitled Grace which is first of this newer format and to be blunt is really quite interesting.
Recorded entirely by Vivek Date himself, using a looper with programmed drums and bass-lines upon which the vocals lead-bass parts were later recorder very live, you are met with a very vintage Classic Blues-Rock that leave nothing but groove overall via its backing and one dominant layer with the notable backing vocals bolstering the simplistic output. ‘An Artist’ sets the tone for the album with the recording method clear from the start.
That is both a criticism as much as it isn’t as the pre-programmed drumming and simplistic bass-lines are very obviously so but do indeed sound reminiscent of the era that the band are trying to adhere too. The tracks do very much merge together almost seamlessly which is again both a strength and a weakness but in that the skill with the the lead-bass cannot be denied.
The up-tempo intro to ‘Lone & Blue’ is enticing but ultimately mis-leading as the track very much falls into the same old. That’s not to say its not entertaining to a point or not strong in continuity but you know exactly what you are getting well-before you are presented with it.
‘All I Need’ despite sounding one and the same carries darker more modern sounding groove too it and very much redeems the release again to a point. ‘When I Was 12’ sees weaker lead-vocals but a welcome up in the tempo and more of the soft backing vocals so notable in ‘An Artist’. Overall the track is disappointing considering its within context obvious potential.
‘The Sailor Joe’ closes a release enjoyable despite its shortcomings. Grace is a release that you can relax to and have on while you are busy elsewhere, it carries the welcome vintage tones that made early Rock music so successful and have taken some obvious skill to muster but in the end goes no further than that.
Grace is a good release worth trying and a release fit for its purpose but is still lacking in weight it requires. However, I’d be lying if I said wasn’t curious about whatever is to come next.