I have just come new to the intense delights of Vision Thing. Going by the information presented on the EP's sleeve and its accompanying press one-sheet, and of course listening to this EP, Vision Thing is a stylish and evidently well experienced four-piece acoustic band, based in the north-west, whose stock-in-trade, at least on the evidence of this EP, is good solid folk-rock with a good solid story to tell. The lineup consists of Cherlene Walmsley (vocals), Pete Cunliffe (acoustic guitar, vocals), Paul Cunliffe (bass, ukulele) and David Windsor (violin), and they're joined on this EP by Jan Hough (bodhrán) and producer John Kettle (of Merry Hell fame - that's credentials enough, in my book!) on acoustic guitar and bazouki (although I can also hear a drumkit…).
Vision Thing certainly has a considerable presence, and their songs - all self-penned, presumably meaning group-composed - are fine examples of history-and-legend-based contemporary songwriting. The title song depicts through personification the time-honoured concept of the trysting tree, a traditional meeting-place that could be used for any purpose (whether purely romantic or something altogether more sinister), whereas the remaining two songs both have a maritime leaning - Silver Darlings (named after the herring) celebrates a small fishing community in north-east Scotland, and Carry Me Down To The Shore voices the thoughts and words of a Viking warrior being taken to his final resting-place. All three songs are characterised by really strong vocal performances, rousing melodies and confident, spirited instrumental backing. On this showing, Vision Thing have loads to offer, and I would end this review by saying that I'd hope a full-length album showcase is not going to be far behind this release. With the cheeky (but IMHO necessary) caveat that Vision Thing's next release needs to be accompanied by a more accurate press blurb for a start - the current handout is not to be entirely "trysted", I'd say, for it proclaims The Trysting Tree to be a four-track EP performed by a five-piece band! (oops… - So what went wrong here, I wonder?…)
But now, before you turn the page, you'll need to read the postscript to this review, wherein I must own up to an unusual degree of embarrassment at having penned the above, not least for giving an inaccurate impression of the band. Normally, I will do my research via a band's website before writing a review, but this time I relied on the press release, and find myself having been somewhat misled. So in this instance it was only after checking on the aforementioned website that I discovered that one of my writer colleagues here at Fatea had, only in January of this year, already reviewed (and very favourably too) a full-length album, Lights, by a band called Vision Thing with at least one named member in common. And then I find a live review of the band on the same bill as our good mates Merry Hell only a couple of weeks later! So I think I'll let my review stand, and just leave this confession in here as proof that we can all get it wrong sometimes, none of us reviewers are infallible, but in all fairness we rely on a band's own press blurb for our background info, especially if the internet is down!
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