From about 2004 – 2008, I existed within the abundant music scene of St. John’s, NL playing in a band called the human soundtrack. During this time, I became quite familiar with the local music scene and its multitude of songwriters and bands. I love so many of them, including Mark Bragg, The Novaks, The Subtitles, The Soft Intelligence, Texas Chainsaw, Black Molly and Hey Rosetta, to name only a few. Check any of these groups out and you will get a taste for the variety and the talent that exists in the city of St. John’s. Yet, sitting at the very top of this list would have to be Victor Lewis. I was introduced to Victor through my good friend, Mike O’Reilly from Gander, NL. He would put on these homemade albums of Victors and I would sit there listening, my mouth agape and wonder if I even wanted to continue performing my music in public, knowing that there was this prodigy of a songwriter sitting at home and producing such a high calibre of music from his bedroom. Victor has recorded countless albums that he released primarily to his friends only. Not until 06 or 07′ did I find that he was also placing them at Fred’s Records in downtown St. John’s. The back to back release of “Good Intentions” and “Death Come Creepin‘” had me thinking that if the right person heard these gems, Victor would be swept up by some record label and go on to tour the world. I know these are heavy statements, but if you doubt me, give the two albums mentioned above a good and intense listen. You can unbelievably download these albums for free at his Bandcamp page.
Victor went on to form a band called KUJO backed by St.John’s best and playing songs plucked from Victor’s abundant song catalogue. These guys are amazing and their album is also one that is not to be missed or dismissed.
Somehow, Great Invention slipped under my radar. It must have been released as I was leaving NL for Nova Scotia and I lost touch with the St. John’s scene for awhile. Well, I’m four songs in as I write this and I already know it’s gonna sit right up there with my favourite albums of Victors. It’s amazing what this man can do. This album is full of dreamy guitar arrangements, harmonies and horns. “Fire Engines” is surprising me because it’s also a KUJO song that is significantly slower and paced on this album. It’s still great though.
I’m loving the closing song right now. With its slide guitar, killer harmonies and psychedelic guitar solos, it’s an amazing way to end a remarkable album.
Victor quotes The Kinks and The Beatles among his influences, but I can also hear David Bowie, The Band and Prince, depending on what album I’m listening to. Naming influences does Victor a bit of injustice however, as Victor is wholly and uniquely his own. I’m gonna let the rest of this album wash over me and eagerly anticipate his next release.