Twenty One Pilots - Vessel

By Poppy Tohill

American musical duo Twenty One Pilots, consisting of Tyler Josephand Josh Dun, recently wowed Aucklanders when opening for Paramore earlier this month and for a relatively unknown act, performing in New Zealand for the first time, they came away with an extensive number of new fans.

After noting that the band describe their style as a distinctive fusion of piano-driven schizoid pop and lyrical uplift, you really get the feeling you are in for quite a ride, and this is an album that just keeps giving from start to end.

‘Vessel' opens with a track titled ‘Ode To Sleep' which gives you a real taste of what's to come. The hip-hop beat and lyrical prowess of Joseph kicks the track off, with an unexpected shift into an indie rock sound similar to that of MGMT. Being the first song I'd ever heard of the duo's, then continuing on to listen to the rest of the album, I would say they definitely made the right choice for the album opening track, as each track following improves with more character than the last.

The chorus of ‘Holding On To You', is what I imagine Owl City's Adam Young would sound like if he turned to a similar style of rapping and schizoid pop. In saying that though, it is not meant as an insult in any form as this track reinforces the impressive fusion of rap and indie pop, with Dun utilising his extensive vocal range and staccato rapping style brilliantly in sync with Joseph's intricate drum beats.

‘House Of Gold' switches it up with the addition of Joseph's ukulele, providing a fun little pop track to break up the electro sounds and rapping. Being a bit more of a pop lover than hip-hop myself, this song was definitely one of the stand-out tracks on the album and a personal favourite of mine. A pre-warning before listening to this tune though, you will find yourself head-bopping around a lot and if you have a close listen to the humorous lyrics, they're definitely bound to put a smile on your face!

Opening with a style resembling that of alternative rock and hip hop, ‘Car Radio' proves another great track as it builds up to a rave-esque crescendo that represents the heaviest point in the album.

‘The Run And Go' has a slightly similar sound and feeling to it than American pop indie band FUN and for me may even be the best song on this whole album.  Providing a fantastic foot tapping and fist pumping beat of power chords on the keyboard and thumping drum kicks, the song takes an unexpected turn halfway through. This is where the pace considerably slows and Joseph's vocals change from punchy to soothing until the build up resumes with the original happy and punchy beat, concluding the song on a very intense vocal point.

From there the energy remains high with ‘Gun For Hands' and ‘Trees' both providing an irresistible techno-pop beat to keep your feet tapping, before the album calmly fades out through the sombre ballad that is ‘Truce.'

After hearing mix reviews about Twenty One Pilots following their performance opening for Paramore, I was pleasantly surprised when giving this album a listen for the first time. It's joyous and a lot of fun to listen to and although not being the style of music I would generally be into, I think this album leaves a bit of something for everyone and most people could find at least a few tracks they enjoy out of it.