Salt Lake City’s Visitors are hard to pin down. This is definitely not a bad thing. The five songs featured on their recently released Blueshift EP have a cohesive feeling, but within each song the members of the band seem to be following their own path, weaving into and out of each other only to crash into soaring passages anchored by Ian Cooperstein’s dynamic voice. Their sound is indebted to bands who are equally hard to categorize, such as Deftones and Circa Survive, but comparing them to anyone seems like a disservice to the band’s uniquely dreamy yet deep sound.
“With a Y” kicks off the Blueshift EP well, with a steady beat from drummer Bryan Lee providing a point for the guitars and Cooperstein’s (initially) gentle voice to swirl around. The instruments coalesce into sharp stabs around the chorus of “I want you to know you ruined me” before they careen nearly out of control at the track’s end before being pulled back in by Cooperstein’s voice, now in a more intense form. Each of the songs features a similarly varied collection of sonic moods, with slower, dreamier passages giving way to screams and blunt instrumental attacks. Even with the loud-quiet-loud style of songwriting, each track remains varied enough for Blueshift to be a dynamic collection of music with each song possessing a unique feel.
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The strongest weapon in Visitors’ arsenal is Cooperstein’s voice, which can change from a soft whisper to a sharp stab to a scorching yowl, sometimes within seconds. It’s the glue that reins in the careening guitars and the rhythm section. This type of music can sometimes suffer from too much atmosphere, with more attention being paid to the overall feeling of a song leaving the lyrical content suffering. This isn’t an issue for Visitors, as Cooperstein’s lyrics are another of the band’s strongest points, particularly on the aforementioned “With a Y” and “Camera Obscura.” Just like Visitors’ music, the lyrics are dark, but with a subtle beauty that eludes heavier bands.
With each song of this five song EP clocking in somewhere between 4 and 5 minutes, it’s a pretty perfect length. Vistors have created a collection of music that is reflective of each song—they all follow their own path, but in the end, come together to make something that just plain works. Solid production, solid musicianship, and a great vocal performance make this a pleasant surprise from a band with a great foundation and a lot of potential.
Ricky Vigil spends a lot of time thinking about punk rock and playing video games. He lives in Salt Lake City, UT, where he works with teenagers and wonders what could have been if he had followed his boyhood dream of becoming a professional wrestler. He also makes comics you can read at rickyvigil.tumblr.com