Vain - Rolling with the Punches

Vain Rolling with the Punches cover
Rolling with the Punches
Music Buy Mail
Vain is quite a unique band, for the lamenting, minor and passionate delivery of Davy that can rock full on as well to the unique tone of misters Scott and West on the guitars making it groove and sing as necessary.
“Rolling with the Punches” might have 2017 copyright notices, but screw me, if this couldn’t have been an album that the band could have released during their 80s heyday.
The awesome title track “Rolling with the Punches” is a punchy (pun intended) mid-tempo with a riff that’s so “Vain” it’s not even funny and could easily have fit in any of their first couple of albums.
“Deliver the Passion” well picks up the tempo a bit and well delivers a lot of passion – again like something that could have been on - Side A - of “No Respect”…
“Long Gone” comes in, full on, riffs ablaze – seemingly unstoppable and only lets down slightly because of its chorus that is a bit too plain, but the overall conviction and delivery, let’s it slide by.
“Dark City” has this rollin riff that feels a bit like “Who’s Watching You” – not a copy of it, more of a “feel” thing, but progresses in a way that feels a bit more introspective, a bit more experimental in the vein (oh dear) that Vain went in their middle years… of course with a voice like that and the overall tone it’s difficult to sound like anything else, which is both a blessing and a curse since even the mediocre material sounds a certain way, but if for any reason, the vocals are not your cup of tea, it might be a bit of a deal-breaker.
“Bury Some Pain” has an ambiguous intro and is probably too electric for its own good… it might have made a fine semi-acoustic number, but as it’s presented, it feels too twangy and weird… like some bad 90s hair band trying to sound – I wouldn’t say grunge, because it’s certainly not grunge, not with that solo in there an all, but take chances and be different, but not really getting things right. Not every aspect at least.
Unfortunately, “It’s A Long Goodbye” doesn’t find it’s mojo until too far in and it’s too repetitive on the chorus… a piece that could have been pretty good, but seems “underdeveloped”.
“Inside Out” is more like it verse wise and mood wise, but feels it could have had a more dramatic chorus, which is here delivered in a pretty laid back “hazy” way.
“Don’t Let It Happen to You” is a lot more “vintage” and funky – matching the opening tracks of the album – which I guess is a good thing.
I was thinking – my, my – this album lacks a good ballad, and I quite liked the first thirty seconds to “Sacrifice” with Davy “lamenting” but then a rising yell kicks the track into high gear, probably one of the most explosive tracks on the album and heck one of the best ones… think “No Respect” (the track) colliding with “Who’s Watching You”… yeah that good.
“Show Your Love” maintains a bit of the impetus and risen tempo and begins with a funky little riff repeating all over, almost as explosive as its predecessor, but even “nastier” in a good way in the chorus... with the guitars matching up Davy nicely.
“Sip the Wine” is a bit of a weird inclusion, a roughly mixed track that was supposed to be given only to “pledges” since this album was “made” after a few delays – this “way”. It’s a bit rougher and explores a nice enough idea… in fact it would have felt “better”, if it was fully produced and a bit more refined in a couple of places and breaking up the tempo monotony towards the middle of the album with a lot of slower and quite honestly not so amazing tracks lumped together.
“Rolling with the Punches” (the album) is a mixed bag of chips – an album that has some pretty good, vintage sounding “Vain” material in it – and a whole lot of stuff that feels either half finished or not so great, spoiling it’s middle section a bit, where the album sounds quite weak…
Still if you’re a fan, half a dozen years after their last album, you definitely appreciate your “Vain” fix… but I guess I might find myself cranking up their earlier releases more often than this one. Still can’t blame them for wanting to put out something borrowed, something blue, something old and something new…