It’s finally here—after months of anticipation and build-up as single after stellar single was dropped, Vita and the Woolf release their debut LP Tunnels on June 16th via Believe Global Label Services. And as frontwoman Jennifer Pague sings in “Earth,” I am here for this.
While the group, comprised of Pague, drummer Adam Shumski and guitarist Dane Galloway, has already made a name for themselves in their local Philadelphia scene, this record has the potential to propel them to nationwide (if not international) recognition. Tunnels is soaring, big and important even in its quiet moments. Pague’s explosive vocals and Shumski’s equally explosive percussion have created an incredible debut that is simply beautiful and awesome in every sense of the word.
Opener “Sun Drop” sets the tone for the record, powerful and anthemic with a build that promises to never break as the instrumentation becomes as grandly out of control as Pague sings about during the track.
Vita slows it down (relative to this record, as it never truly slows down) with a more somber “Mary” that speaks of disillusionment and broken dreams masked by sweeping harmonies and a marked rawness in Pague’s vocals that makes you want to simultaneously cry and dance.
The third track was Vita’s last single to be released before the record, the explosive “Super Ranger” that shows off Pague’s range and has a synth-driven, pop-leaning chorus that again features crazy layered harmonies that soar and build and remind you again, if you needed reminding, that Jennifer Pague can really sing.
“Earth” is a clear standout on an album of standouts, featuring seamless shifts from the falsetto bridge to the empowering, fast-paced chorus that Shumski drives on drums.
In a slow-burning sound that is James Blake-meets-Florence Welch-esque and explodes into a haunting chorus, “Bury You” is another standout that features Pague throwing her voice around in an effectively eerie and moving manner.
The last three tracks were all released as singles leading up to the album: the synth-driven, dancey “Brett,” the powerful “Feline,” and the quietly devastating “Qiet.”
It doesn’t get much better than Pague’s vocal delivery, but when you remember that she also wrote, recorded, and produced the large majority of Tunnels, you have to take a moment (or a few) to really appreciate the magnitude of talent and soul that went into this record.
You can listen to Tunnels streaming in full via a Nylon exclusive before the release on June 16th. Vita and the Woolf will be performing on Saturday at Firefly Music Festival, and on the WXPN Local showcase at the Philadelphia Folk Festival in August. For more information, see the XPN Concert Calendar.
1. Sun Drop
3. Super Ranger
5. Bury You
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