The Commodore 64 has such a huge fanbase of people whom grew up loving the tunes made on the little console that tribute bands pop up in all shapes and sizes. The most interesting to date I’ve found are a band called Visa Roster – an vocal ensemble of six extremely talented vocalists. Taking old theme songs from various games they have made a couple of albums of vocal arrangements. Their début on the field is “***Commodore 64*** Vocally”.
“International Karate” kicks off the album with a superb rendition of the excellent track. Here you can hear beautiful harmonies, vocal leads, beat boxing and deep resonate vocal basses. It’s a beautiful piece that is my favourite on the album. If you are curious about the whole experience then check this song out first off. There is an cute encore at the end with what is a gentle tongue in cheek Chinese cultural part which rounds off the piece nicely.
“Human Race, subtune 4” starts off like a space odyssey carefully wrapping harmonics and abrasive hummings together to create a space cruising soundscape that is very pleasing to the ear. It fades off into “Think Cross” which comes across as a Jazzy Scat piece with a slight funk feel to it. Its “Do-waah do-wahs” are staple to the piece but kudos must go to the beat boxing when the tune really stretches its legs.
“Mermaid Madness” is a clever rendition of a very well known classical piece that I shall not name as it will spoil the fun. “Shamus Case II” brings out the swing and classic sneaking element. Its a very short piece but very fun and showcase’s the leading ladies vocal talents. “Black Lamp, subtune 3″ reminds me of an old Christmas carol and definitely reminds me of the old festive spirit. The song itself is clever in its structure, repeating the same passage but each time slightly faster and more complex.”Think Twice III” is the first sombre song of the album. Just gentle and soft “oohs” lightly glitter the speakers for this one with light tsking of beat boxing.
“Armageddon Man” gives us the first non-vocal instruments as a piano is used here. The lead lady Hanna performs solo on this piece which showcases her talent again. We even have drums and bass for the second half of the track too! “Sweet” continues to use instrumentation before various monologues are spoken over the backing music before electric guitar takes over and then near choir like vocals finish off the track. The choir sections could get them sued by The Eurythmics with their famous “Sweet Dreams” song. While it is definitely a different track, its one of the more less played of mine on the CD for me.
“Comic Bakery” is another instrument track that sounds like a zooped up C64 track reprogrammed in a new synth memory board. Its superb and the vocals added on top really enhance the song and take it a step further. “Task III” takes things a step further creating an excellent dance piece using vocal scatting and various digital effects to bend the vocals into the original tune. Its a clever design that works very well. “Breakdance” then rounds off the studio songs with a mercifully happy funky dance song with some jazzy vocalised scatting over the top. It’s crazy cat parts make you fall in love with the song and quite frankly the group. The CD ends with “Spy Vs Spy Live!” taken from a C64 concert. It shows that they can pull of complex songs live and showcases the bands talent.
Without doubt I would recommend this CD and band to anyone. I contacted them to purchase their CD’s via their website. I found them through watching a C64 Audio concert DVD (also be to reviewed) and they sent me a personal e-mail back which was lovely. Buy, Buy, Buy!!!