For The People: The Vansaders Album Review

The music scene of Asbury Park, New Jersey ranges from Bruce Springsteen to The Gaslight Anthem to The Clash. Asbury Park was the home of The Bamboozle Music Festival and houses The Stone Pony, one of music’s legendary concert venues. Their nightlife thrives on music, both local and national acts. One of their up-and-coming local acts is alternative-rock band The Vansaders.

The Vansaders have had a few lineup changes – essentially a lineup change with every record – but their latest record No Matter What stands out in the way that it is their most collaborative one yet. Their first record, Stuck in New York City, involved the founding members while the second record, Jumping at Shadows, had a different lineup despite the record mostly being written by the founding members. For the third record, This Time Around, the current lineup of Doug Zambon, Deaglan Howlett, Kyle Zupe and Jay Maranzino recorded together although the majority of the songs had already been written. No Matter What is the first record where every member contributed in one way, shape or form. “The most defining thing about this record is [that] everybody pulled their weight and made the album what it is,” Zambon said. “I think that’s what sets it apart from previous stuff.”

 No Matter What was a tough album to name, according to Zambon, but after pitching the lyric from the first track “Roll The Dice” everything seemed to fall into place. The track opens strong and once the vocals hit, it’s a pleasant surprise of cleverly written lyrics and careful arrangement.

The first single, “Sunrise”, comes with a strong chorus and thunderous drums. With the vocal harmonies, it creates that feel-good, sing-along track that catches the listener with the hook and reels them in by the time the chorus hits. “For me, music is about being able to participate one way or the other,” Zambon said. “The musicians are obviously important, but the sound is arguably the best part. It’s really about the people who enjoy the music. And I think and hope this is one of those songs that people will enjoy.”

No Matter What was recorded with Pete Steinkopf of The Bouncing Souls at his studio, Little Eden Studios. This was the band’s third time recording with Steinkopf, who Zambon said came into this recording process knowing exactly what the band wanted to sound like this time around. His easy-going attitude and extensive musical background shows within each track and really created more of an eclectic sound that the band has been improving upon since their first release.

This record is meant to be taken in any way the listener interprets it. Wherever the listener is in life, or whatever journey the listener may be on, The Vansaders goal is to give that listener something that they can relate to personally. From Asbury Park to across the coast, No Matter What is a record for the people.