Victory and Associates: These Things Are Facts!

There is a bit of a nautical theme that runs through Victory and Associates’ album, These Thing Are Facts! These references to shipwrecks and staying afloat speak volumes to the band’s approach. It’s not just about surviving, but thriving, even when the resources available don’t lend themselves to easy success. In the face of such limitations, it makes the wins, however small, seem miraculous. The optimism of these songs would be anthemic, if it weren’t so constantly threatening to fall apart and that’s just right.

The wins on this album can be attributed largely to the band’s youthful confidence and reckless ambition. They are pushing their talent and their tools to the limit, taking their sound to the brink of where it falls apart and sometimes just beyond. When they can find that sweet spot, as on “Not Returning”, where the singer relates the story of leaving home over the stretch of guitar strings and the swirl of feedback. Musically, it displays a Replacements-style hookiness; lyrically, a Modest Mouse nothing-to-lose howl.

The band displays a definition of success where ambition and process trump results. The approach varies, ranging from Rancid-style call and response to a more traditional guitar jangle chorus followed by a solo. The constant is a reach to be deeper, richer, and fuller. There is an acknowledgement, followed by a rejection, of their limitations. They would rather fail ambitiously than succeed under less challenging conditions. It is an attitude and a state of mind, working best when coming from that least understood place in the gut. In fact, the low points of the album “Brothers Doing it for Themselves” and “Turn Down the Guitars” fail, in large part, because they are too on the nose, trying to explain their ethos and abandon in terms that are too direct.

The songs aren’t reactions to hurt and unfairness, but declarations of independence. While they work as assertions, they don’t, lyrically, take aim at anything too specific and, as a result, don’t hold too much emotional weight. They are stretching themselves thin here, testing the limits of their talent, seeing what they can get away with. It’s an attitude that runs parallel to the Occupy Wall Street mindset. It’s not so much whether your voice is heard, so long as you speak. These Things Are Facts Is about talking the talk. Say something enough and it will become true.

Rating: 7.8/10

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