November 3rd, 2009 was the release date for Pulses are Pluses, the second EP by Jacob Vanags. Accompanied by drums, trumpets, bass guitar, and a violin, Vanags should be ready to put out an album soon. His pop sound fused with indie rock results in comparisons to such acts as Ben Folds, Jason Mraz, and Coldplay. In my opinion, Vanags can be better than all of them.
The first three tracks of Pulses are Pluses have a lot of energy. They really move the listener as they speed up and slow down resulting in a rollercoaster of emotion. The opening track “All That You Have” gets the EP grooving on a good note. It is a fantastic introduction to anyone that hasn’t heard Vanags before. The next track “Toss Up” starts out light-hearted, but pulls you in like a good book or movie. And “Antarctica”, my personal favorite, builds right from the start to what I consider an instant classic. The violin does what violins do best, and that’s play the emotions like it was attached to your heart strings. Vanags easily does his best singing here.
The rest of Pulses are Pluses stumbles a bit. “Stuck” almost seems to do just that. With a piano riff similar to Maroon 5’s “This Love”, it feels as though Vanags ran out of energy or just needed to catch his breath. The next track “Speak Up Now” brings back the energy. It feels like the first three tracks and sparks the interest into what Vanags is doing. “Jonah’s Dream” appears the be the epic work of Pulses are Pluses. At seven minutes it seems to be too long. Vanags displays his vocal and piano skills nicely., but with two pauses, the song seems to linger. That is until about the six minute mark when the violin and choir add something. Unfortunately, it feels like a mediocre film you sit through just to see the good ending.
Pulses are Pluses is the warning shot that Jacob Vanags is coming. In fact, he’s on the horizon and should be here soon. I can’t wait for his first full-length album and will be keeping an eye out for it. Until then, check out Pulses are Pluses.