Review: In Moderation (Wicked Vices)

Category: music 112

In Moderation is a rock and roll variety show that confidently holds its own among the wealth of local music released this year. 

Matt Carter 

Wicked Vices’ debut album is out. Finally. From a fan’s perspective, the band took their sweet time getting this record together, teasing track after track over the course of two years without dropping even the tiniest hint as to exactly when the whole project would be completed and ready to share. They kept us waiting right up until the last minute. But it’s not like they weren’t trying to complete this record. To “get ‘er done” as they say. It’s not like recording and releasing a full length album wasn’t going to happen, eventually. We just didn’t know when. No one did. 

Since the release of their debut self-titled EP back in January of 2019, the members of Wicked Vices have had to navigate more than their fair share of challenges in completing their first full album. There was a baby born, a pandemic endured, and a lineup change in there somewhere as well. Challenges that would have pushed a lesser act to the brink, or brought an end to the group all together. The simple fact that the members of Wicked Vices were able to survive everything life threw their way these past few years speaks volumes to their friendship, their collective desire to create and perform, and their obvious love of rock and roll. 

When placed alongside some of the other albums released by Fredericton-based bands over the past year, In Moderation is a bit of an outlier. As a creative unit, Kristen Vautour, Ryan Barrie, Geoff MacDonald, Chris Hawkins, and Joel Dixon, aren’t out to reinvent popular music or take any obvious artistic risks. Instead, they write forward driving rock and roll inspired largely by the kind of modern rock that found its footing in the nineties. That moment in time when electric guitars regained the airwaves to win the popular vote. 

In Moderation is full of variety – from bangers to ballads – and everything in between. There are sing along choruses, guitars solos, and pounding rhythms. Everything you would expect to find on a rock album. Everything you want to find on a rock album for that matter. All of this backing Vautour’s commanding voice, easily one of the best rock and roll singers performing in Atlantic Canada at the present time. 

Though some of the songs on In Moderation may suffer from a liberal use of compression, limiting the true dynamic scope and perceived intent behind some of these ambitious arrangements, the album serves to capture an enormous amount of energy and is the perfect bait to coax audiences out to see the band live in action. With songwriting, arranging, and the individual performances of each member afforded the opportunity to shine, In Moderation is a winner. Homegrown rock and roll at its finest.  


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