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For Vision, the summer of love never happened. Like a runaway truck retrofitted with venomous spikes, three East L.A. punks are trampling over the tie-dyed wimps with the vicious directness of the Germs, the cool discontent of Oasis, and the frustration of Nirvana. No goofy psychedelic pastiche, just hooligan-fisted rock ‘n’ roll that has all the hopeful romanticism of a prison escapee, and the OG punkness of Jim Morrison’s first Elektra bio: “I like ideas about the breaking away or overthrowing of established order.”
Brothers Christopher Valer (Guitar/Vocals) and Phillip Dominick (Drums), along with bassist Richard Martinezcompromise Burger Records’ most volatile unit. Vision is jaw-jarringly optimistic pop that’s the product of backyard gigging in East L.A., where the three twenty-something’s found their alternative sound. Hailing from Whittier, California, Vision is what happens when L.A. backyard punks descend onto Manchester’s bricked-wall factories. In other words, Vision is Britpop revved to the highest L.A. punk-gear. “We’re doing the same thing they [Britpop] were doing, but on this side of the world,” says Dominick.
On their debut LP Inertia, available on Burger Records, Valer’s deeply personal songwriting and hoarse vocals sound like pieces of Morrison, Darby Crash, and Liam Gallagher: Violent, poetic, and utterly smashed. His vamping guitar riffs blast through each of the 10-tracks like a finely tuned siren, while the driving rhythm section and melody sounds like the Sex Pistols discovering post-punk. The aggressive tone on Inertia is a departure from their self-titled EP from 2012, recorded in a basement in Lincoln Heights, which had the Britpop influence and artful guitar fuzz, but lacked the deadeye purpose they now possess. For Vision, it’s all about breaking through the walls of perception and bringing the toughness back to L.A. rock ‘n’ roll. Inertia is their master plan.
On Inertia’s featured track “Control,” Valer sounds like he’s writing a frustrated letter to a former lover. In the process, he’s running out of time and losing his cool. The song builds with anxiety on the verse, and explodes with release on the chorus: “It’s getting harder to control myself/it’s a part of me.” Valor’s cold-steel guitar cuts through the tune as he yells “I’m not fucking XX!” like Morrison at the Whiskey. Their live shows resemble a parking lot brawl, with short bursts of swing that stun onlookers with a combo of focus and aggression – without any cheeky small-talk. Seeing Vision live, it’s hard to tell they write love songs, which makes people feel uncomfortable. But it’s all part of their vision to bring disorder, to the established order.
Like three working-class blokes looking for a way out, failure is not an option. There’s no backup plan, no trust-fund. Vision’s mission is rock ‘n’ roll blitzkrieg designed to reawaken the masses, and instill fear into their hierarchy by sounding like the new alternative.