Race Against Fate – Singles Review
Henry Rollins once described an over-emotional state he was going through as his “White Squall Moment,” which came to him from watching the film White Squall and bursting unexpectedly into tears. Whether he was over-tired, hungry, emotional…whatever it was came spilling out during the minutes of this movie, seemingly out of nowhere but a sum of the days gone by collected. I’m not sure what’s quite happening with my own-self here right now…but these new four songs from Race Against Fate have managed to put me right into one of these “White Squall Moments” here in the control room of sleepingbagstudios. Listening to these new songs brought tears out…not gonna lie to ya.
This new music comes to us from Vik Kapur, who many of you will remember through our reviews here & showing videos of his other work through his band Morning Fame. Race Against Fate is the solo project he began in mid-2013, presumably as most, to be able to express a different aspect of his abilities outside of the band. Vik Kapur has a distinct quality and tone of his voice that is completely recognizable – and it’s been no secret to these pages that it’s a sound that resonates deep within me. I love the sweet tones, the heartfelt & often heart-breaking songwriting of Kapur, and through this released solo-work you really get to appreciate and get a sense for what a large portion of the writing he must play in Morning Fame as well. While these four songs are enough of a departure to justify solo-existence rather than bringing them to the band – it’s undeniable that each and every track in either project carries Kapur’s signature vocal-stamp.
One aspect of these new songs that I truly enjoyed, was that comparisons I have made in the past to Kapur’s sound through bands like the Gin Blossoms and the Watchmen no longer seemed to apply. I no longer hear the influence holding him back; at this point he’s defined his own unique path and built upon his past strengths incredibly well here.
Songwriting itself has always been Vik’s number one attribute – this guy writes unbelievable pop-melodies. I simply push play…that’s all I gotta do…and the music finds its way into me right away like it knows it belongs inside here. “Shadows,” would be the track in question…responsible for the “White Squall Moment” over here. A piano-ballad of the most beautiful kind – this song is terrifically emotional and Kapur delivers the chorus with a precise melancholy you just can’t fake. It’s not a happy song…and as much as it can fill me with happiness to hear an artist nail a track perfectly like this – lyrically this song will pummel you into the dirt. And as I sit here with those tears still falling into my beard…I can’t help but give Vik the full-credit for my face-monsoon for being able to translate his emotions so well through song.
“Photograph,” is another great pop song; excellent guitars, strings and wonderful back-up vocals in another shining example of how to deliver an emotionally-powerful chorus. You can find the same perfection in “Casually Leave,” – you get the sense that Kapur is able to find a hook in any piece of music that comes his way. What surprised me in this set of songs the most, especially being a solo-effort, was how well the surrounding instruments make up these tunes. The four songs I’ve heard here in this set include some of my favorite choices for drums that I’ve heard in pop-rock to date; they’re incredible minimal and often much more of a traditional-percussive sound rather than a simple, straight-forward snare-hat combo. They’re incredibly rhythmic and incredibly subtle…and perfect for these songs.
Guitar-wise…I don’t know if I am just straight-up crazy, or if there is actually a sitar substituting often for the traditional spots that would be occupied by a guitar…in either case, the sound comes across as unique and extremely effective. “Song For Each Day,” is the track that carries the largest portion of these string-tones…I’m just gonna go ahead and call it – I’m not crazy – that is completely a sitar. It has to be! With the aforementioned percussive element in these tunes, accompanied with yet another killer hook & chorus, this track is another exercise in Kapur doing everything RIGHT. A true-track of strength, it not only has an excellent hook in the chorus, but the pre-chorus before that…and the pre-chorus before THAT… You get what I’m saying here – “Song For Each Day” is a big, big song.
These first four samplings of what Vik Kapur is capable of solo excite me greatly. To say I’m looking forward to more is a complete understatement. In a complete confirmation of his own defined-sound and excellent songwriting – these four songs stand out completely as a sign of many, many more to come from this creative pop-melody genius.
Find out more about the Race Against Fate solo project from Vik Kapur of Morning Fame at: https://www.facebook.com/RaceAgainstFateband
Join the thousands of bands & artists reviewed by sleepingbagstudios by clicking here!