Hope Vista put her solo career aside to form the band VISTA with guitarist Brian Canfield and drummer Wolfgang Reiter. With only Hope’s superb farewell EP Prevail to go on, my expectations were high for VISTA — and the band’s debut effort, Versus, did not disappoint.
“Mansions” opens Versus with wonderfully inventive lyrics and raw, emotional vocals that truly captures the song’s mood. Hope’s vocal talents are complemented by her new band members’ chants on the track.
The pop-punk dial is turned to the max on “The Departed”, and while Hope may look and sound like an angel, it’s made apparent that she’s a badass. The bridge on “The Departed” commands you to rock along, and the entire collection of songs on Versus sounds stadium-ready with Hope’s effortless vocals, Canfield’s skills on the guitar and Reiter’s rocking drums.
The single, “On The Brink“, features VISTA’s male vocalists more prominently, although Hope wisely and masterfully still takes the reigns. “On The Brink” has a wonderful guitar solo; Canfield is worth his weight in gold, and this track proves it.
It feels as though Versus is just getting started as it comes to a close with “I Hope You Understand”. The anthemic pop/punk/rock mix continues, and by the fourth and final track, VISTA has attained the perfect mix of imaginative lyrics (“You’re texting in my bed / And temptation’s in your head / You are stepping in a sacred spot”), wonderful production and, as expected from Hope, flawlessly raw and strong vocals.
Like Hope Vista’s previous solo career and her Prevail EP, VISTA’s Versus will leave you impressed and wanting more. Hope is undoubtedly a perfectionist, and her nonstop efforts to hone and refine her craft continue to result in remarkable music. It’s no surprise that every song on an EP as lyrically intimate and vocally raw and real as Versus were written by the lead vocalist. (Wolf Reiter cowrote on “Mansions”, “The Departed”, “On The Brink”; Okan Kazdal cowrote “I Hope You Understand”.) Here’s hoping VISTA will continue to expand their career and release an LP full of more pop-punk goodness…four tracks just isn’t enough!
Album artwork courtesy of Holly Turner.