There are over six thousand languages spoken across the globe daily, but there is one that is comprehended by all, music. Music speaks volumes. It makes us laugh, makes us cry and allows us to relive past events at the drop of a snare. Fortunately for the listener, Identity VA speaks the language of music fluently. They articulate their dialect of Alternative/Indie Rock gracefully through a variety of drum kicks, bass lines, vocal ranges and guitar riffs. Their debut LP “Fish Swim in Schools” is full of feel-good music that illustrates how art imitates life.
Hailing from Richmond, VA, Identity VA is: Mike McKinley (vocalist, songwriter, guitarist), Chris Salyer (drums) and Chas Apless (bass). This Alternative trio creatively converts everyday life experiences to musical compositions. Their creativity shines on “Remember”, a laid back track in which the group takes us on a trip down Memory Lane. Vocalist Mike McKinley can still remember a painful but humorous moment as he croons, “Do you remember the water slide, where I broke my nose and broke my pride? We laughed a long time after that.” The melody cushions the blow as the band continues their outstanding performance.
The band artistically uses contradictory statements to provide food for thought on the high octane single “2012”. Drummer Chris Salyer beats the drums like cops at a Rodney King convention as McKinley sings “I’m no one to be, but I’m someone to know/ I got places to be, but no where to go/ I’ve got nowhere to live, just somewhere to stay/ I’ve got plenty of work, but I’d rather play.” Chas Apless supplies an ideal bass line for this thought-provoking classic. One may have to listen to this song a few times to get the full understanding its lyrics, but it will be time well spent.
The marvelous instrumentation of “Pyramid” pairs well with McKinley’s vocals and lyricism. The vocal, string and percussion sections blend effortlessly making this track one that is sure to be placed at the top of many IPod playlists. Other notable tracks on “Fish Swim in Schools”” are Clint Boss, Ota Benga and the magical Hocus Pocus.
Music always has been and will continue to be the world’s most universally understood language. The genres and vernacular may change, but the conceptual aspect will remain the same. This language will continue to be taught by a battery of scholars with Identity VA standing at the forefront, while the consumer will continue to listen and enjoy.