About Nico Vega
Fate guides you to the girl of your dreams, her face is filled with a past-life familiarity and her unpredictability explodes your heart. She reveals the most personal parts of herself, she delivers pure joy and love, and you think: this is new, this is different, better than what I dreamed, and yet it feels like I’ve loved it forever — this is Nico Vega, this is their long-awaited sophomore release, Lead to Light. And to the light you shall be led.
The lyrically vibrant, melody driven album may feel for some hardcore Nico Vega devotees like a departure from the gritty, visceral, rock-centered nature of the “Beast”, but fear not, dance towards the light. The trio (Rich Koehler-guitar, Dan Epand-drums and Aja Volkman-vocals) has always shot from the hip, resulting in a rawness that’s impossible to put in a box and is nearly transcendent in its live form. Lead to Light builds from that same rebel spirit, raising the stakes with heart-centered alternative pop ballad/jams that still carry the torch of their beloved underdog, but this time it’s also personal. The light leads inward; towards a deeply autobiographical musical narrative of the journey the trio has traveled (marriages, children, love) since their self-titled release. Volkman’s fearless vulnerability forges honest lyrics that don’t shy away from the human questions, “What are we doing? And what’s this all for?” The answers are chronicled in a sound driven by a blissful urgency, dusted with synth, a pulsing guitar-centered escalation, and an emotional edge. What we hear is Nico Vega standing on that edge, waving a flag of surrender and victory. It’s a fight for everyone, but now, also for themselves resulting in a deepened electricity that reverberates with a decisive lust for life. In simpler terms: it’s a big Nico Vega party and we’re all invited.
Volkman’s voice weaves itself seamlessly through a stunning range on the album. At one end, the single “I Believe (Get Over Yourself),” a high-spirited chorus dance-jam, produced by Dan Reynolds, Imagine Dragons’ front man, and on the other end, a beautifully haunting cover of “Bang Bang.” The underdog spirit takes flight with “No Home” a pulsating ballad that builds to its inspired demand: “You’ve got to fight for what you love and build your home!” The fight leads forward for “the red-headed step-child” (as Vokman lovingly chants) in “I’m on Fire,” an epic, blazing, indie anthem, sparked with a melodic whimsy, and a delicious throwback to soul, that makes you wanna shout it all back. The dynamics flip from fierce to playful and back again. Dropping into an infectiously precocious hip-hop beat, “Back of my Hand” features lyrics ripped from the diary of Vokman’s 13 year-old self; the sound is captivating in its sparseness. Volkman croons fearlessly into opposing worlds, flirting with hip hop, blues, and funk as the band follows suit, orchestrating a fresh alternative pop sound, ultimately modern, but echoing, at times, a vintage-bluesy past that proves the “beast”, in all its glory, is the greatest of contradictions.
Lead to Light marks the evolution of Nico Vega from intuitive songwriters towards crafted and relevant collaborator/producers. They were chosen to cover Cher’s “Bang Bang” for A&E’s miniseries Bonnie and Clyde. Earlier in the year, their anthem song “Beast” charted its way, beyond its cult-like following, into mainstream audiences with multiple syncs in advertisements for Vampire Academy, BioShock Infinite, Ketel One, Jack Reacher, and Pacific Rim. Lead to Light is in your face, it’s by your side, and it’s got your back. It’s your child-hood best friend, it’s the girl of your dreams, and she’s gonna make you dance in spite of yourself: it’s Lead to Light.