By b aiken | June 15th, 2010
The Shuffle may be based in San Francisco now, but its roots in the Nation’s Capital are still strong, and I’m here to bring some Washington DC vibe to the discussion. A metro area local, Alex Vans is a guitarist/singer/songwriter who has some serious musical musical chops.
Vans’ self-titled debut brings a raw groove and bluesy vocals to bare, a coup d’hendrix, if you will. Now, before you go on saying I just called Alex Vans the next incarnation of Jimi, let me set the record straight; Vans is no Hendrix. He is however, a talented musician bringing a jazz background and pop sensibility to his music, obviously influenced by Hendrix, Vaughn, Page, and the like. Vans doesn’t stray too far from a standard equation of soulful vocals laid over a guitar driven backdrop, with plenty of meandering solos and a jam styled feel. The formula works and it works well.
The EP is well put together, albeit a tad disjointed. I’d like to hear a bit more synergy amongst the tracks if and when an LP is released. I’m enjoying the sound though, and it’s poppy enough to appeal to a wide audience while satiating the snobs among us. Its a well rounded offering of catchy licks and lyrics, backed by inspiring guitar playing, clearly well educated and orchestrated. There is plenty of solid listening enjoyment to exact here, and I’d suggest it to just about anyone.