March 9th, 2017 | Album reviews

Guilt Ring

VAGUESS (pronounced Vegas) is the brainchild of Vinny Earley, who also fronts Fernando & The Teenage Narcs, and say, what a child is this album! Hailing from the depths of Costa Mesa, VAGUESS finds itself part of the tradition of great California punk, in the lineage of the Dils or Middle Class. The album resonates with a spirit of prideful outsiderness, the result being a playful yet blistering take on these very themes. The vitality of the music displays the absurdity of class, addiction and just plain being broke. The point seems to be a sprint to anarchic romanticism. And really, isn’t that the very point of music and art in general? Vinny’s lyrics go from family members going through transition (literally, and to comedic effect!) to religious cult tendencies to being a broke person in broken relationships. And the torment in his voice vacillates from weariness to glee, or so it seems to this writer. VAGUESS, as a friend once explained to me, is the perfect embodiment of the old becoming new again—the rage, bliss, humor and discontent are as palpable as a punch in the face.

­—Nathan Martel