Local Review: Vincent Draper & The Culls – Heavy Sleeper
Local Music Reviews
Vincent Draper & The Culls
Vincent Draper & The Culls = The Middle East + J. Tillman + Neva Dinova
You know that feeling when you’re at a coffee shop trying to focus and the music choice is obnoxious and complete shit and all you want to do is scream and storm out? Vincent Draper & The Culls are the remedy for that. Heavy Sleeper is the band’s latest release, and I propose that each and every coffee shop in the Salt Lake City area give it a try—if only so people like myself won’t cause a scene.
The EP begins with heavy track “Under Fire,” revealing lead singer Draper’s dreamy, soft voice with a touch of grunge. The vocals are calming, as if Draper is taking one deep breath after the next, inhaling and exhaling with every word and string. Similarly, Draper’s songwriting style offers plenty of personal lyrics concerning the complications (and the hopes) of relationships. “Newer Mexico,” Heavy Sleeper‘s most eccentric and stand-out song, carries a psychedelic rock chorus and a richness one can’t deny. If Timber Timbre and The Black Keys got together in an alternate universe, “Newer Mexico” would be their love child.
Likewise, “High and Thriving,” a song you’d possibly hear in an episode of Grey’s Anatomy (that’s a compliment), expresses Draper’s passionate and raw style of storytelling as he beautifully spits out, “I want you angry and fighting / I want you kicking out and biting / I want you torn and I want you frightened / I want you crying on the phone to your mom / I want you mad and I want you smiling / I want you high and I want you thriving / I want you cursing my name in silence / I want every piece of you.” Sure, the word choice is plain and easy, and I do find myself wanting a bit more of a challenge to decipher. However, the message is relatable, and that’s really all you need if you want to produce something valuable.
The final song, “Queen,” wraps Draper’s love story into a tight bow, proving his utmost devotion by singing, “Your eyes, your eyes in mine / Your heart, your heart is mine / My love is in your arms tonight / My life is in your hands tonight,” and so on. The order of the songs on the album tells a story—the process of a relationship, a lover, a companion; the good, the bad and the ultimate goal of wanting something you want so desperately to just work out without a fight. Obviously, this EP is mainly about that ludicrous emotion: “Love loves to love love,” as James Joyce wrote.
Vincent Draper & The Culls are somewhat mysterious, definitely heartfelt and, above all, totally memorable. There’s a specific sincerity tucked within each song on Heavy Sleeper. Although, I can’t seem to put my finger on what exactly it is—that candor. Maybe it is simply candor. It’s almost indescribable other than the variety of genres that crop into play: gothic, Americana, folk, rock—you hear it all. Regardless of all this, the album will have you craving Draper’s inner workings of soul and mind, and that’s a win in my book. –Kassidy Waddell
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