Thursday, December 3, 2009

How I Learned to Love Van Allen Belt: A Review

Eerie vibe, quiet, listen, the ear draws in close. Trembling piano begins to resound in the room, soon joined by layers of strings and hymnal voices. A white light bursts! A strong female voice is so clear, so concise. This graceful woman with a long silk gown resting over her body takes center stage. She gently curls her fingers around the boxy shape of a glistening old-fashioned mic, standing strong, yet with elegance. Vocals spring from the microphone like gold satin ribbon, curling weightlessly through the air. Tables, chairs, walls around her begin to erupt in slow motion, deteriorating piece by atomic piece, crumbling into dust. Each word is a knife, aimed at the elite class; the fools, herself.

Partaking in a little Pittsburgh-based Van Allen Belt tends to send my fingers to my laptop. From there they begin to rapidly scan over the keyboard, hunting for proof and clarification of the band's lyrics. Eyes frantically attempt to absorb the political and social issues belonging to VAB's new album, Superpowerfragilis: Or How I Learned to Stop Caring and Love the Drug. Subtle statements are thrown into the wastebasket when it comes to this group of musicians. Their tune is one of constant satire, co-mingled with despair, anger, and hopelessness.

Van Allen Belt may be a somewhat advanced and strange listen in the beginning, but those folks truly focused in discovering the darker image of America will no doubt be interested in using VAB as a means of guidance. Every lyric, name, and idea is carefully thought out and holds a deeper meaning only discovered by critical thinking. If education is the means to providing change during our current (and constant) pre-planned economic instability, then consider Van Allen Belt just another adviser. They may confuse, they may offend, they may seem to be a little over the top and extreme in their message. That being said, dig a little deeper into these lyrics if you dare...

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