With the release of 2020’s Interzone through London-based psych label Fuzz Club, the Brooklyn-based psych duo The Vacant Lots — Jared Artaud (vocals, guitar, synths) and Brian McFayden (drums, synths, vocals) — crafted an album’s worth of material that saw the duo blending dance music and psych rock while maintaining the minimalist approach that has won the band acclaim across the international psych scene.
The duo’s highly-anticipated fourth album Closure is slated for a September 30, 2022 release through Fuzz Club. Written during pandemic-related lockdowns, the eight-song Closure clocks in at 23 minutes and continues the Brooklyn-based duo’s established “minimal is maximal” ethos — all while being a soundtrack for a shattered, fucked up world.
“During the pandemic the two of us were totally isolated in our home studios,” The Vacant Lots’ Jared Artaud says. “I don’t think the pandemic directly influenced the songs in an obvious way, but merely amplified existing feelings of alienation and isolation. We found ourselves writing in a more direct and vulnerable way than ever before.”
So far I’ve written about two of the album’s singles:
“Chase:” Written on a Synsonics drum machine and a Yamaha CS-10 synthesizer, “Chase” is firmly rooted in their long-held “minimal is maximal” ethos but while seeing the Brooklyn-based duo pushing their sound in a club friendly direction while still being lysergic. Arguably one of their most dance floor friendly songs, “Chase” is centered around what may be the most vulnerable and direct lyrics of their growing catalog with the song subtly suggesting that at some point we will all need to dance away our heartache — if only for a three or four minutes.
“‘Chase’ is a song about longing, about the struggle of love across time zones,” The Vacant Lots’ Brian MacFayden explains in press notes. “It’s about the desire to close that gap of separation, but also the anticipation and excitement that builds between each encounter. It’s about a sense of knowing how it should be before it is.” The band’s Jared Artaud adds, “‘Chase’ has this duality that strikes a balance between wanting to dance and taking a pill that plunges you on the couch.”
“Thank You,” a dance floor friendly banger centered around a relentless and angular, arpeggiated baseline paired with a four-on-the-floor drum machine pattern, glistening synths, angular guitar buzz and sneering vocals. But while being a New Order-like banger, “Thank You” is a bitter tell-off to a people (and situations) that have wasted valuable time.
“‘Thank You’ was built in the framework of simplicity,” The Vacant Lots Brian MacFayden says. “It has a relentless pace driven by an angular arpeggiated bassline and drum machine pattern. A Juno-6 was used for chords throughout, a Korg M500 for the leads, and the track is brought to another level with guitars layered on top. The process of crafting this song was done entirely remotely due to the pandemic and the layers over time became more and more refined until we were satisfied with each sound source.”
“Consolation Prize,” Closure‘s third and latest single continues the Brooklyn-based duo’s long-held minimal is maximal ethos but while leaning heavily towards industrial goth with the track being centered around droning synths, wiry bursts of guitar, some efficient thump paired with vocals expressing aching heartbreak and frustration. Sonically, the song sounds like a narcotic synthesis of Suicide, Iggy Pop, and New Order.
Filmed and edited by Alexander Schipper, the accompanying video follows a leather jacket-clad Katerina Samar walking through a park. Shot in grainy Super 8 black and white film, the video employs kaleidoscopic filters and old film stock to give the proceedings a slow-burning yet trippy air.