For Nearby Stars
by New York City's VPN
(formerly Very Pleasant Neighbor) is one of the finest Indie Pop albums of the past year that didn't show any overt Beatles/Big Star/Beach Boys influences
. Eschewing string sections and predictable harmonies and melodies for a more unique and down-to-earth approach, VPN blur their influences together to create a buzzing, guitar-driven brand of Pop that goes for a lingering hookiness over the quick fix. The tunes on Stars
are wonderfully crafted, with vocals that are weighted with emotion, song structures that don't pander, soaring, engulfing harmonies and some wiry guitar interplay that recalls some of the string-workouts Television and Wire used to hustle in their heyday. CMJ
magazine called VPN "NYC's best kept secret"; more albums as solid as For Nearby Stars
should put an end to that soon enough.
With the always provocative Frogs and locals Philosopher's Stone at the Southgate House on Thursday.