Like Years – Vicissitudes


Portland, Oregon, is an environment that’s best known for heavy metal and hardcore punk, yet it has also birthed the mysterious and enigmatic Like Years. With a sublime sound that incorporates everything from sax to synths, Like Years make for strange bedfellows, yet this cultural isolation means they’ve developed a unique sound that’s all their own, and their latest album, Vicissitudes is indicative of this, and comes fully formed with 11 effervescent tracks.

If you are new to the sonic delights of Like Years (lucky you), then there is probably no better introduction than opening track ‘Freeway’. Powered forth by a driving rhythm, the drums beat like pistons, the prominent bass rolls as if tyre on tarmac, and the guitars soar and flash past, signage at the side of the road. The feeling generated is of forward motion, and ‘Freeway’ would sound perfect blasting from a convertible as the wind gently rustles your hair. On an album that continually surprises, the following ‘Insomnia’ takes a different tact, and its wall of synths would make the perfect soundtrack to some really cool ‘60s film noir. It has a definite cinematic quality and freezes a moment in time, it’s a celluloid still in sepia tones that speaks a thousand words.

Joining John Craig on this album are a veritable cast of musicians, they each bring a little of themselves to this recording and this ensures that Vicissitudes is a multifaceted listen. While each of these tracks is easily identifiable as Like Years (and this provides a continuity throughout), every song has its own personality which ensures that no two songs inhabit the same sonic space. The perfect accompaniment to a nocturnal sojourn through a neon-lit metropolis, ‘Run’ recalls classic Orchestral Manoeuvrers In The Dark, ‘The Optimist’ bursts into bright rays of sunshine, while ‘Powerline’ is buoyed by a pure pop sensibility, yet they’re all threaded into a cohesive whole.

The mixing of organic and electronic instrumentation effectively is no easy task, yet Like Years is a master alchemist, and the two are brought together in perfect harmony. It’s this slight dichotomy, a gentle push and pull that makes Vicissitudes such an appealing listen.

  • Vicissitudes is self-released and available here.

Track List:

  1. Freeway
  2. Insomnia
  3. Serious
  4. Vicissitudes
  5. Run
  6. The Optimist
  7. Powerline
  8. The World Is A Nightmare
  9. Let’s Go Outside (Cause It’s Raining)
  10. Wavves Of Light
  11. Out Of The Water