Vast Robot Armies’ fifth album, ‘The What Gallery‘, is a testament to the unpredictable creative process. When Jason Thomson, the band’s vocalist and songwriter, teamed up with producer Jordon Zadorozny, they had a solid plan in mind. The idea was to keep the album’s production “in-house”, with Thomson handling the drums, and his bandmates Jon Agee and Joseph Wells contributing guitar and bass overdubs. Their easy working relationship and Zadorozny’s studio expertise initially made external contributions seem unnecessary.
However, fate took a twist when Thomson and Zadorozny attended a Shiner concert in Toronto. A chance to reconnect with Allen Epley of Shiner led to the idea of incorporating members of the Shiner family into their album. The decision to have Jason Gerken and Shiner bassist/recording engineer Paul Malinowski record drums for one or two songs in Kansas City ultimately led to a complete redo of the drum tracks. The album then started to organically evolve with the contributions of these unexpected collaborators.
The result of this unconventional process is ‘The What Gallery‘, a sprawling and unapologetically “color outside the lines” indie rock record. What makes the album stand out is the conscious decision to step away from the traditional approach and let the music take the lead. The tracks are infused with unexpected colors and textures, thanks to the involvement of the extended Shiner family, with Paul Malinowski on bass and multi-instrumentalist Mike Dulin providing standout performances on keyboards, guitars, and background vocals.
Mike Dulin, in particular, emerges as a “secret weapon” on the album, adding unique and compelling elements to the sound. ‘The What Gallery‘ reflects the idea that letting go of ego and control can lead to remarkable and unforeseen musical outcomes. It’s an album where the main songwriter willingly took a step back from the recording process, allowing his close musical friends to shine and contribute their creativity.
The result is a record that breaks boundaries, defies expectations, and proves that sometimes the best art comes from abandoning the initial plan. ‘The What Gallery‘ is an album that thrives on its willingness to embrace the unexpected, and the listener is taken on a journey of sonic exploration and emotional depth. Vast Robot Armies have crafted a unique and captivating album that showcases their commitment to musical evolution and willingness to let the music guide the way. It’s a testament to the power of collaboration and the beauty of relinquishing control in the pursuit of artistic expression.