Cacodemonomania. Try saying that five times fast.

It refers to one’s belief in being possessed by an evil spirit or demon, but it also happens to be the title of local band Vitamin Sun’s newest batch of progressive indie rock tunes. Elaborate grooves in odd time signatures; spacey, echoing guitar leads; and captivating pop hooks make for a memorable, albeit brief, journey through diverse soundscapes.

Take one part the Dear Hunter, one part Coheed and Cambria, add in a dash of the Mars Volta’s trippyness, and you’ll get  a band like Vitamin Sun. From tinges of modern emo and indie-pop to complex jazz-infused math rock, this band is undoubtedly willing to experiment and explore.

Released on February 26th, Vitamin Sun’s Cacodemonomania EP comes almost exactly a year after their first full length release, She Is The Sea & She Is Loud. While the alt-rock quartet stays true to their often jazzy, experimental math rock sound on Cacodemonomania, these three tracks just might be some of their catchiest, most polished songs to date.

Sure enough Vitamin Sun is already tracking demos for their second full length record, so think of this EP as a quick teaser or a stepping stone towards the group’s future.

For an EP that clocks in around sixteen minutes, Cacodemonomania delivers three songs jam-packed with layers upon layers of riffs and melodies to unpack.

Cacodemonomania definitely demands multiple listens for the full effect. On the opening track, “Wicker Wings,” lead singer/guitarist Kyle Hamel’s vocal lines shine. His honeyed vocals glide and soar gracefully high above the rhythm section, making a cumbersome rhythm feel effortless and natural. Through echoey guitars leads and alternating, panning jazz licks, “Wicker Wings” eventually builds into a fitting pop-rock chorus as Hamel belts out “This machine, it’s always clicking clattering/Sowing the seeds so we can die and live again.”

“Lanterns” shows off Vitamin Sun’s ability to apply their prog rock sensibilities to a more upbeat, dancey indie tune– although the song does begin with a swaggering swing feel, complete with a fuzzy, distorted bassline. For a fleeting moment the song even has a bit of a reggae feel when the clean guitars combine with the crisp click of the sidestick beat on the snare. “Lanterns” stands out with its intricately-picked guitar lines and playful drum beats, along with Hamel’s cascading vocals reminiscent of the Fall of Troy or Coheed and Cambria at their poppiest.

Although there aren’t too many cacophonous moments of full-on math rock on the EP, the end of “Lanterns” features a particularly memorable descent into chaos as the band suddenly lurches into an insanely brief breakdown of choppy, ominous guitar chords.  It’s over in seconds but it’s a testament to the band’s willingness to experiment.

The final track “Willy Wonko” (that’s right, Wonko) is really the crowning achievement of Cacodemonomania. Besides being fun to say, “Willy Wonko” begins with an eerie, creepy intro full of mind-spinning grooves and jangly guitar bends fit for a haunted carnival funhouse. Soon everything unravels into an almost atonal, trippy breakdown of sliding guitars that sounds like a deranged surf rock band en route to a mental hospital.

But the creepy vibes quickly subside as the band reigns it back in for another super catchy indie pop verse with Hamel singing, “If you remain with me right here/then I will plant the garden you most fear.” The band is at their jazziest here with a stand-out progression that quickly starts and stops to accommodate the gorgeous, flitting solo guitar that blurs the lines between rock and jazz. But as soon as the listener is in their comfort zone, the song recalls earlier unsettling themes that end the EP on a darker, mysterious note.

Cacodemonomania may be a quick EP between full length releases, but that does not detract from its impressively composed songs and ambitious, sometimes unexpected, reworkings of the alt-rock formula. With this release Vitamin Sun has proven that they’re an ever-evolving group willing to get their feet wet in a multitude of genres and soundscapes.

Album Review: Vitamin Sun - Cacodemonomania
Pros
  • Truly original, creative spin on the indie/alt rock sound
  • This band makes interesting, tricky grooves look like a breeze
  • From math to prog rock, there's a lot of variety for a 3 song EP
Cons
  • Lyrics are a general weak point
  • The weirder/experimental sections were so brief, you're left wanting a lot more
8.5Twisted indie

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