There is no band out there like twenty one pilots, and we'd like it no other way. The eclectic duo of Tyler Jospeh and Josh Dun have one of the most unique sounds in music today, and with the band's latest record Blurryface, the world has started to really realize. Smash hits 'Stressed Out' and 'Ride' spawned from that record, while the Suicide Squad theme 'Heathens' gave the band even more momentum.
twenty one pilots' promise was evident long before Blurryface, though. Their major label debut, their third record Vessel, was really the point at which the band proved that they were no flash in the pan. The album solidified the band's sound and gave the band a new sense of pop sensibility and anthemic vibes.
Many songs on Vessel are remasters of songs found on the band's previous independent release, 2011's Regional At Best. This includes lead single 'Holding On To You,' which has the signature twenty one pilots song: optimism with a sense of crushing reality. The song is a bit poppier than others on the record, giving it an extra edge of pop sensibility, but the atmosphere is just fantastic. The song also features an awesome build up in the bridge that builds up to a whole explosion of energy.
Perhaps one of the best things about twenty one pilots' music is that they know how to have fun while still making impressive tracks. There are plenty of fun, light hearted tracks that still carry meaning to them. One such example is 'House Of Gold,' the indie anthem that revolves around Joseph's ukulele chords and lyrics. It's a sweet song that has a light atmosphere to it, but still means something (it's a song saying that he would do anything for his mother). 'Semi-Automatic' is another song with a fun atmosphere, as is the anthemic sing-a-long track 'The Run and Go.'
twenty one pilots aren't afraid to try some different things out, either. Opening track 'Ode To Sleep' says it all with its dark, synthy intro kicking the record off with a badass, brooding start. The song begins as a driven hip-hop record before casually and smoothly slipping into a more fun mood with a less serious tone. It's full of clever lyrics and small jabs like "Then I feel my soul start leaving / Like an old man's hair receding," which sounds awesome with Joseph's Eminem-esque delivery. 'Migraine' also shows some different elements, such as a more primary focus on synths and the prominent use of vocoders to introduce the song. The song has an underdog vibe to it as Joseph's lyrics move awesomely above the highly interactive instrumental that's constantly responding to the vocals. It's an interesting song with plenty of little details to notice upon every listen that make its charm more and more sweet. The massive nature of the almost country rock vibes in the choruses of 'Trees' also feels like a risk that paid off fantastically.
There are plenty of serious moments, however. One of the most dark and dramatic moments on the record is 'Car Radio.' This ode to emptiness is dramatic and heartbreaking, the piano chords ringing somberly as Joseph sings with a broken timbre, anxiety and angst breaking through strongly. It comes to a huge ending with the massive synths, but is still nonetheless powerful; in fact, this climax comes as a boost to the song's emotion. The album comes to a beautiful end with the short but sweet piano ballad 'Truce,' where Joseph sweetly sums up the narrative of the record: life goes on.
Whether you're talking about self-titled twenty one pilots or who they are now, this band is still pose a massive threat in the world of music. Their voices are clear and unique, striking out starkly amongst the rest of their contemporaries. Vessel proved their potential was very real, and also paved the way for a long and successful career ahead.
Favorite Tracks: Car Radio, Migraine, Ode To Sleep, House Of Gold
Least Favorite Track: Fake You Out
Rating: 95 / 100
Buy or listen to Vessel here: