Professional Victims are an alternative rock duo based in Syracuse, N.Y.. They’ve released their third EP, this one is a five song offering titled “Fathom The Cosmos”. Ashley Cox and Shawn Sullivan recruited Jeff Moleski (Smashing Pumpkins, Local H) at Moletrax East and the recording is what they describe as ‘D.I.Y. alternative, exploring the space between synth pop and alt rock riffs’. Having reviewed their stunning last release “Motivational Speakers” I was excited when they sent along this new EP. It’s with high expectations that I give it a spin and share my thoughts.
“Human” sets the initial tone for this release, a dreamy, layered vocal set on what seems to be a strict power-pop keys/guitar line. Dig a little deeper and it has some teeth despite its oooh refrains.
“Gimme Space” switches gears dramatically as an expose of swirling emotions matched by Sullivan’s ripping guitar solos. The keyboard and vocal effects twist the lyric audibly sending the listener on the roller coaster of the mixed emotions portrayed. “Run” cranks up the volume further exploring the human condition, the questioning of self and the self-entitled need for escape. The mix is monstrous and the balance of the guitar tracks from acoustic to melodic, then searing, all blending to the next verse, brilliant stuff. The vocal play is next to perfect, especially the rave-up ending.
PV stretch their eighties power-pop muscle on “Strangest Thing” Cox’s vocal rising and falling with Sullivan’s guitar line driving her along. She’s convincing, but not contrived, it’s a very fine line she dances on deftly, confidently, without need of a net. “Pirate Flag” reminds me of a favorite song I haven’t heard before, reminiscent, familiar, yet carrying the excitement of something fresh and new. The melody line and hook grab your ears, propelling one finger toward the repeat button well before the end. A fitting closer that leaves you wanting for more, more sweet vocals, more biting guitar, more ear candy, which this surely is.
Their newest EP surely shows the tremendous growth in this musical partnership, combined with Jeff Moleski’s brilliant engineering, they’re a force to be reckoned with. It goes to show what musicianship, heart and drive can produce on a local level, it surely deserves wider recognition. The dual spent 2014 playing showcase shows throughout NY state and is currently working on their next ep. Follow them on social media at facebook , twitter and on their website.
Key Tracks: Human, Gimme Space, Strangest Thing