The Police must find themselves confounded in 2014. Their signature chorus-effected guitars are almost as ubiquitous now as they were 30 years ago, dousing a metallic sheen to a swath of the musical spectrum on everything from the overplayed radio summer song, “Am I Wrong” by Nico & Vinz, to Canadian band TOPS, that make dreamy pop with the verve of a younger sister belting her favorite song into a hairbrush in her parents’ basement. Enter Vesuvio Solo, the project of former TOPS bassist Thom Gillies and Cameron MacLean.
The duo filters the eighties sensibilities proliferating stereos everywhere around them, though through a decidedly smokier lens, coming across as Ariel Pink’s more conventional counterpart. “Avion”, with its glowing guitar swells and Juno synthesizer plucks, exists in the darkened corners of a coked out night club on a cruise ship, which echo Gillies’ sentiments concerning missed connections and mobility: “You don’t know where to go/ In the avion, real slow / I don’t know where you’ve been / Pull over, let me in.” Gillies doesn’t say much here, but then again, the eighties never epitomized principle over hedonism.