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Math rock. Noise rock. Post punk or post hardcore. You could use any combination of those terms and dozens more to describe Life in Vacuum, though more accurately, you could just say, “undiluted urgency in audio form.”
The Toronto-based trio delivers an explosive, high-energy brand of aggressive rock that laces merciless but musical melodies and passionate vocals with rhythms seemingly spit out by an angry calculator. The result is many things: compelling, hypnotic, menacing, but most of all, undeniably magnetic. Look no further than the band’s latest LP, All You Can Quit, for proof.
Brothers Ross and Sasha Chornyy never played music together in their native Ukraine, though that changed upon immigrating to Canada in 2004. The pair – Ross on drums and Sasha on guitar and vocals – formed a band that was admittedly far removed from Life in Vacuum’s perfectly calculated chaos; then, they were introduced to acts like At the Drive-In, The Mars Volta, and Refused, and everything changed.
“The idea was always kind of rooted in punk, but then we were set on experimenting with different sounds and styles and effects,” Sasha explains. The brothers wrote and recorded demo after demo, slowly distilling their sound to the potent product displayed on 2010’s Commander Clark.
The band signed with New Damage Records in 2014 and dropped their acclaimed LP 5 later that year. The offering showcased an uncompromising sonic cocktail combining the propulsive riffs of Drive Like Jehu and Hot Snakes with the in-your-face intensity of Comadre and Metz. Their self-titled follow-up was the perfect chaser, cementing the band as one of the most unique and noteworthy acts playing Southern Ontario’s punk circuit.
Prior to the composition of All You Can Quit, current bassist Geoff Albrecht stepped in, making his presence apparent in the songwriting process. “We’re very rigid, my bother and I, so it was good to have a new voice in the fold,” Sasha admits. “It’s not so much a new sound as a new dynamic; the chemistry really works.”
That chemistry is outright combustible on All You Can Quit. The 11 tracks showcase the pinnacle of Life in Vacuum’s dynamic sound to date, shifting seamlessly from raw aggression to intricate and ethereal delicacy – always musical, always awesome. Sasha’s vocals are weightier than ever before, anchoring the tracks in pure intensity and emotion – a product of a more organic and transparent approach to tracking in the studio.
Looking to add a fresh perspective from outside their sonic realm, Life in Vacuum tapped producer/engineer Josh Korody (Fucked Up, Dilly Dally, Weaves) to helm the project at his Candle Recording studio. “Josh has worked with a number of bands we like and respect, though they may not sound exactly like us,” Sasha explains. “It made for a good foil that led to some new and interesting places.”
Lyrically, the album explores ideas related to personal growth and progression. “It’s about just moving on from things, and continually moving forward,” Sasha offers – divorcing from vices and being open to new experiences.
Life in Vacuum have long embodied that idea, touring rigorously in their time together and bringing their high-energy, piss-and-vinegar performances everywhere, from raucous house shows in sweaty Toronto basements to tours throughout the U.S., Europe, and South America. They’ve shared stages with the likes of MeWithoutYou, PUP, and Metz and performed at high-profile events at SXSW, The Fest, NXNE, and Canadian Music Week. “I think that’s the most satisfying thing for us,” Sasha admits – “just going somewhere new and playing your music for people that care.”
The swarm of people that care is swelling by the day, and All You Can Quit is sure to push the band to an entirely new plateau. Describe Life in Vacuum however you like; just don’t ignore the impactful and unparalleled aural experience so uniquely their own.