Let me get this right out of the way: Vermont transplants Lucy Vincent are ridiculously tight. There's an overabundance of jam/groove/funk acts these days, but this trio's turn-on-a-dime musicality, honed in a Monday-night residency at Nectar's, is noteworthy.
The band's self-titled debut is squarely aimed at the ball-cap and spaghetti-strap set. Unlike some of their contemporaries, however, Lucy Vincent pay more attention to song structure than extended noodling. No amorphous jams here, just airtight grooves flecked with acoustic and electric guitars and, believe it or not, flute.
The group's upbeat groove-pop is built upon the solid foundation laid down by bassist Jordan Lee Berger and drummer Matt Rosenthal. Berger's bass lines are the epitome of precision; they're busy as hell but never upstage the song. Rosenthal is likewise meticulous; his kit work is well articulated and impeccably executed. Did I mention he also plays flute?
Guitarist/vocalist Kelly Ravin delivers concise, intelligent guitar licks throughout the record. His plastic soul vocals present a squeaky-clean approximation of island vibrations. Most groove-rock acts aren't known for their standout lyrics, and Lucy Vincent are no exception. However, Ravin's musical personality is eminently likeable, and he should have no trouble winning college-age converts.
Standout tracks include the math-funk opener "Boulevard of Fantasies," the reggae-drenched "Fasten Your Seatbelt," and the tom-tom heavy "In the Hills." The latter tune's flute-driven arrangement makes the band's acoustic-strumming peers sound like dorm-room amateurs.
"Sticks and Stones" adds a progressive edge to the trio's hermetic grooves. It's almost too tight, however; I found myself hoping for just one misplaced note or botched fill. No such luck.
Album closer "Someone Somewhere" is a catchpenny pop ditty that sounds like a cross between Blues Traveler and latter-day Hanson. The song's soul-searching lyrics are earnest to the point of absurdity, but the easy-skankin' breakdown and thoughtful electric guitar solo are nice.
Lucy Vincent probably won't win any points for originality. Still, their seasoned musicianship gives their material a potency lacking in most feel-good rock. Hell, I enjoyed this disc a shitload more than any Jimmy Buffett record I've heard. Catch their CD release party on February 10 at Nectar's, with New Orleans funketeers Brotherhood of Groove.