Moment Of Uncertainty

“Fans of Pere Ubu, Gang of Four and Wire would probably find a lot to like with the old Vores, and still find enough to like about the “new” Vores…” > Kevin J. Hosey, Buffaloroots

“Each song explodes in a mixture of fun and cynicism.” > A fan, via email

“The Vores. Those guys are always pissed off.” > Overheard at a gig; allegedly a compliment

Like a time capsule from the late 70’s comes Moment Of Uncertainly, drawing a line directly back to the blustery & angular sounds of the past. This edition of The Vores (after a more than 20-year break) leans heavily on the “post” of post-punk and no wave. You’ll hear plenty of jagged chords, chopped up arpeggios, hyperactive bass, surfy guitar, and nervous rhythms. That is, music that’ll annoy the crap outa most folks in the general vicinity!

Seriously though, The Vores bring to mind the swagger of X and the expansive musicality of early Firehose — maybe with a little of Devo’s sense of humor. Highlights are many: “New Personality” kicks off with a foreboding bass triplet/artificial harmonic that perfectly frames the rest of the tune. The main riff of “Stress” does indeed allow tension to build before the explosive release of each chorus. “Monster” begins with a huge, swampy chord that gives way to a series of garagey verses.

Big in Japan? Maybe.

The Vores first stalked the stages of Buffalo rock events during the New Wave era of the late 1970s and early 1980s. Their music was labeled punk at the time but much of the tense dissonance they perpetrated was actually ahead of its time – their style of music has since come to be categorized as “Post Punk”. Incorporating elements of punk, funk, pop, no wave, industrial, and surf they created The Vores sound. During their initial active period only a handfull of studio recordings were made and even fewer were released to the public.

The band faded in the mid 80’s.

Then, in 2002, a somewhat miraculous double disc collection of New Wave era Buffalo music was released. The “This Is It” compilation included a couple of The Vores’ recordings and when a release concert celebration was planned they were invited to participate.

Guitarist/singer Biff Henrich and bass player Gary Nickard were ready to go. The band had never had a regular drummer for very long so a friend, Patrick Heyden, was recruited to play. Guitarist/singer Dave Kulik had long ago re-located to Boston, Mass. and was unable to return for the show, so Biff’s (pre-driver’s license) teenage nephew, Scott Ryan, was drafted to play guitar.

That performance, and the process of digging through old recordings to provide cuts for the CD, set Biff and Gary on a train of thought and discussion that eventually arrived at “let’s make the album we never made!”

The result: Moment of Uncertainty, a 13 song CD released in June 2005.

The album was recorded at Soundscape Studio in Buffalo with Jim Calabrese engineering, and was produced (with Jim Calabrese and the band) by David Meinzer. As leader of Davy & the Crocketts, Meinzer was part of both the New Wave Buffalo scene and the “This Is It” CD and show. One of Meinzer’s first contributions was to get Cathy Carfagna (who’s played and sung on more than a dozen albums) involved in adding various keyboard parts to some of the arrangements. This time around Dave Kulik was able to get back to Buffalo several times to add songs, guitar, and vocals to the project.

This is no nostalgia album. The song selection includes numbers that will be familiar to fans who saw the Vores in their early days, as well as newer compositions. The tight, short arrangements of “Heartbeat,” “Monster” and “Stress,” retain all of the nervous edge they had 25 years ago but add a crisp sound the band couldn’t have achieved with the budgets and facilities available to them then. A new song “Raven and Eagle” is the greatest departure from their earlier days, including not only piano, organ, marching snare drum, and acoustic guitar, but also bagpipes and tin whistle courtesy of David A. Moore from the Celtic rock band Jackdaw.

The recording was mastered in Toronto by Peter J. Moore, (no relation) who may be best known as the producer of the Cowboy Junkies’ “The Trinity Sessions” album.

The striking package is a unique prototype design created by Brian Grunert, who won a Grammy Award for a package he designed with Ani DiFranco.