Names in Vain - Most of Our Universe is Missing Released March 26th, 2007
“Motionless in the ever changing universe…,” sings Names in Vain’s Richie Aquino on the song “Blueprint”. “Wake me, shake me, throw me to the afternoon,” he continues.
A feeling of inadequacy with your quiet existence in this constantly growing universe is only a small anxiety to some. Nevertheless, when you’re faced with strife or stillness in a life that oft feels meaningless, you can’t help but think how little your impact is in the grand scheme of things. We’re not getting existentialist here, just being human. Most of Our Universe is Missing has both the larger picture and the smaller picture running in concordance. From expressing discontentment and even participation in the declining nature of society to being completely separated from all reality, Aquino taps into a powerful celestial resentment of our worldly isolation and unhappiness. This is where indie rock becomes real.
Although slightly hesitant to branch out instrumentally, Names in Vain do sequence some eerie keyboard tones, confident six string maneuvers, and fittingly flexible percussion with Aquino’s cocksure vocal presentation. “No Place to Run” is the best representation of each member’s different approach coming together in perfect harmony. The song’s entire rhythm depends on chugging-to-elliptical guitar alternations and 1-2-1-2 based drum strolls. Keyboardist Michelle Ashley isn’t a necessity in the latter song, but she is undoubtedly essential in “You’re Still Alive” where her Easter-morning organ lines are a mainstay to the track. Her involvement in such a song even helps put a proverbial layer of fog around Richie’s opening line of, “When I wake up I realize it’s not a dream at all” and helps somewhat put a face to his disorientation with a glamorous synth bass/organ combination leading the way.
The band rightfully reconsiders stepping out of their comfort zone and seems to narrow their concentration to attaining a sound that would make for a radio friendly indie appetizer. “Good Things Happen to Bad People” has just simple enough of a structure to attract those who fall for creamy song progression and boyishly good lookin’ vocals. Aquino’s lyrical strength, however, transcends most in the Clear Channel circuit. His seemingly conceptual prose seem all too fond of the instrumentals that back it, as if they were all too perfectly tailor-made for his analytical and lovelorn tendencies.
Toting a penchant for baroque pop and three equally talented musicians, Names in Vain have created something surprisingly special in Most of Our Universe is Missing. Moonlighting melodies and an alluring frontman, this is one EP that’ll appeal within seconds of putting it in the stereo. The future looks good for Names in Vain.