X Ambassadors – VHS
I stumbled across X Ambassadors due to the two lead singles: the indie folk of ‘Renegades’ and the foot stomping rock anthem ‘Jungle’. Both caught my attention and I was intrigued when I found out they were by the same artist as they are so different. I wish I had stopped there as I soon discovered that the album didn’t even come close to living up to it’s singles. Even then ‘Renegades’ is really the only good song by X Ambassadors, ‘Jungle’ is only of any interest thanks to the powerful voice of guest vocalist Jamie N Commons.
I can narrow down the issues with the rest of the album to three main reasons. Firstly the overall concept behind VHS is about showing snapshots of growing up in the style of home videos. The only thing that gives any indication of this ‘theme’ is the numerous interludes which take up 7 tracks. They are dreadfully irritating and ruin any chance of giving the album flow. Secondly the songwriting is often lazy and full of bland pop clichés and childish lyrics. It’s only January but I’m fairly sure ‘Fear’ (a collaboration with Imagine Dragons) is gonna be up there with the worse songs of the year. Finally the mixing and production is awfully untidy. It’s as if the studio was set up completely wrong and they just decided to roll with it instead of fixing the leakage and background buzz, which is sadly most evident on the aforementioned ‘Jungle’. Listening to VHS made me want more of Jamie N Commons, but I’ve had more than enough of X Ambassadors.