Vandaveer: Divide & Conquer

By: Dennis Cook

There's a skyward leaning, vagabond soul to this top-shelf song cycle, something reaching out from inside all the wondering and wandering just to see who grabs its hand. And you'll probably be inclined to grip hard after a few tracks from Divide & Conquer (Supply & Demand). Beautifully constructed, acoustic guitar and strong, feel saturated voices upfront with subtle, lovely touches surrounding them like a perfect breeze, the album is warm even in facing the coldness of the world. This is one for those long hours between sundown and dawn, where thinking plagues our peace and we need sweet, understanding melodies to set us free.

Vandaveer is former These United States member Mark Charles Heidinger, who plays all manner of instruments (including glockenspiel!), with help from primary vocal counterpart Rose Guerin, TUS drummer Robby Costenza, and a few others. His vision slots in well with the mood and intimacy of the classic '70s singer-songwriter heyday but infused by an intellect that's fully 2009 – complex, wrestling with so much, a touch scared and in need of deeper connections. What's so splendid about Vandaveer's new album is how readily it invites one in, providing this sort of connection to the listener and giving voice to questions that are hard to phrase right. Tinkling piano and emotion drenched delivery carry us downward, where all the really great journeys begin. How else to appreciate the heights we attain through our struggles if not for a proper appreciation of the lowlands? That such high-minded stuff is so bloody tuneful and delicately assembled is perhaps the key to Vandaveer's success. This is not elusive, even if the things Heidinger is chasing are.

Vandaveer is on tour now. Find dates here.

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[Published on: 10/28/09]

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