| A foxy fierce panda one sheet
The Act: VC PINES
The Track: ‘VIXEN’
The Format: DIGISINGLE
The Release Date: JANUARY 25TH 2019
The Digital Link: smarturl.it/vcpines_vixen
The Truth: VC Pines is still very much Jack Mercer, the former frontman of The Carnabys, who has moved away from the realm of indie-rock and has immersed himself in a well of alternative soul, poetry and punk performance. ‘Vixen’ is his second single out on fierce panda on January 25th which sees our hero continue his stealthy journey through the musical wild, wild woods.
‘Garden Of The Year’ was his first panda track last October. Fittingly, as the evenings drew in it represented a lovely comfort blanket of a song - soulful but light of touch with languid hooklines, gentle surges of sound and an elegantly orchestral denouement. In short, it was a casually excellent surprise, not least to radio tastemakers as it became a Lamacq Livener before climbing onto the BBC 6music playlist to garner more love from Lauren Laverne, Chris Hawkins and Huw Stephens. Headliner premiered the sporty video at headliners/vc-pines-garden-of-the-year-exclusive.html
Following a similar theme, ‘Vixen’ finds VC Pines in fluid, foxy form, once again mining a seemingly endless soulful seam which somehow sees the singer both relaxed and raging – at the same time. What can’t be disputed is how languidly-played and lovingly-made ‘Vixen’ is, recreating the sumptuously casual uplift of, say, The Kane Gang in their ‘80s pomp.
With the pressures and expectations of the New Year upon us, we can find solace in the slinkiness of ‘Vixen’, not least because the man providing the personal back story to this dynamic number is Jack himself, whose experience of epilepsy - a symptom of which is chromesthesia and hence the source of his new moniker Violet Coloured Pines - may also be a key to unlocking this song’s meaning.
“’Vixen’ is about mental vacancy and an apology for being so vacant,” says Jack. “I'd been focused so much on my music for months and months and months and had kind of forgotten people that were most important in my life. The song is also a statement to say that even if I'm vacant-minded here and there, and seem like just a shell, not to worry about me. Mental vacancy is also something that can happen to me physically as a symptom of epilepsy, but I'm always okay after a seizure and it's not something that will be the end of me.”
Having spent four years touring with The Carnabys and becoming a festival regular Jack has carried his live reputation on into VC Pines shows: a riot of colour and stax of fun, alongside a sometime seven-piece live band VC Pines delivers deep organ drones and trills to provide the dark underbelly for this wander down an alt-soul avenue, while a ‘70s-esque sound coats the grit with trumpet and trombone.
Last year was when VC Pines tracks like ‘Garden Of The Year’ and previous DIY single ‘Golden Gai’ became fully realized when the artist tucked himself away in a studio above one of the oldest pubs in St Albans. He’s called on the musical influences close to his heart, no matter how seemingly irreconcilable they are – and bear in mind this is a man who plays his own thoroughly eerie reworking of ‘Where Is My Mind’ in the live set…
“My influences stem from punk and soul with a lot more on the side. It’s a strange mix but they were CDs I could steal from my dad, so my ideas come from Pixies, Richard Hell, The Stranglers, Iggy Pop and Nick Cave to Curtis Mayfield, Bobby Womack, Otis Redding and Sly & The Family Stone. Then when I got older I really got into poetry and fell in love with John Cooper Clarke and Gil Scott Heron’s works. It kinda all comes out as VC Pines. There are lots of influences coming from all directions, but that’s what makes each song unique in its own way.”
Go see VC Pines synthesise at these shows here:
JANUARY 24TH CAMDEN LOCK TAVERN
(Communion Presents New Music Showcase w/ Arlo Parks)
APRIL 3RD KINGS CROSS LEXINGTON