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Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
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Review Wed Nov 27 2013

InnerVisionists Share Their Vision: An EP in Review

The first time I saw an InnerVisionists live show was this past summer, at a dive bar a few blocks away from my apartment. As I headed over there, I honestly didn't know what to expect pertaining to their sound, as honestly sometimes I prefer to listen to a new group without hearing their music prior. There are no preconceived notions as to how I will react to the sound, or what I will think. I'm merely submerged by the sound, as I let it wash over me and fade out.

Hearing InnerVisionists' unique sound for the first time absolutely stunned me. Their sound is a blend of many different musical styles, subverting the notion of a band needing to fit into one unique category. Their sound was merely unable to be typecast, as they jaunted from hip hop with elements of jazz, to funk, to rock, and back again. The crowd that was once seated in booths and not fully engaged with the music prior was now attentive and watchful, with many members of the audience dancing and tapping their feet along to the new sound present before them. The duration of their set flew by, and it ended with grins plastered to the faces of many audience members; Innervisionists had gained some new fans.

Their self-defined genre description includes "whatever we feel," and honestly, that is perfectly stated. Two separate listens to two different songs and one could wonder, "is this the same band?" and I mean this in an extremely positive way. To clarify, they don't lose their sound at all. They keep their sound fresh, lively, and not once is it boring. Innovative sounds and styles are utilized to their fullest, as they mix it up and keep listeners on their toes.

As a fledgling local group, they're one of the strongest and most eccentric that I've heard in some time. I was overjoyed to have the opportunity to review their new EP, which they are having a release party for this Friday.

InnerVisionists' self-titled EP opens with my favorite track, "Strive." A poignant spoken word intro begins the song, speaking of artistry and individuality. This is your life / So live it right / According to design / in your mind. A funky guitar riff in the background ascends above a steady drum beat, as the song becomes jazzy at points, as well. The funk progresses and provides a solid intro: a subtle introduction to the group's sound and their craft itself. "You can only take if you plan to give," the spoken word intro resurfaces. The meaning of life is speculated, articulated by a distinct message, repeated over and over again as the song grows louder, almost more aggressive, driving the meaning home. Layer upon layer builds as the song turns into a frenzy, but one that is welcomed. The song travels full circle and shows a portrait of the group's creativity and innovation that is present within their sound.

The classic El train "door closing" message starts off the next song, "CTA" (Chicagoans, you know what message I'm talking about as it is basically ingrained into our brains, maybe a little too much if we're every day commuters). Reggae elements emerge as the song becomes almost a heavy metal and reggae-infused jam. The song's subject matter is perhaps what you may expect, a story of going through the CTA, more specifically, waiting for the CTA. As much as the group is about innovation, the EP also illuminates the group's affinity for Chicago itself; I know even after time away from the city, I'm overjoyed to be able to take the El train again, even if it had been the bane of my existence the previous week. The "doors closing" message serves not only as a reminder to step on or off the train, but serves a comfort, a reminder that you're home. This song showcases the group's identity: musicians, and Chicagoans.

The frenetic "CTA" is juxtaposed by "No Games," peppered with more jazz and funky, but still a highly energized song. Light bongo drums emerge from the backdrop, and the vocals again are delivered saturated with meaning. Innervisionists are one-of-a-kind because of their magic musical combination of blending styles, and imparting wisdom. Hearing their lyrics is peering into a piece of their souls, as they share lessons they have learned and beliefs they share with their listeners.

Samples introduce their closing ballad, more languid than their previous EP numbers. This is fitting as the song is indeed called "Bring Out The Spirits," a double entendre. A heavy rock theme feeds into the chorus again, as it grapples with themes of the afterlife, and, living each moment to the fullest. Giving a snapshot of days in a life, and honing in on the meaning of taking things day by day and living with intention, the Innervisionists close out their EP with introspection and deep meaning.

The four songs, though vastly different in style, present a signature sound that InnerVisionists have cultivated and grown. Juxtaposing between musical genres and presenting listeners with the dichotomy of lighter subject matter, such as taking public transit, with songs that wrestle with the meaning of life, Innervisionists show that they will have immense staying power within the music industry as they continue to hone in on their sound.

InnerVisionists will be debuting their EP to the public with a release party on Friday, November 29 at Multikulti, at 1000 N. Milwaukee Avenue. Beginning at 8pm, there is a $7 cover for the event.

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Feature Thu Dec 31 2015

Our Final Transmission Days

By The Gapers Block Transmission Staff

Transmission staffers share their most cherished memories and moments while writing for Gapers Block.

Read this feature »


  Chicago Music Media

Alarm Magazine
Big Rock Candy Mountain
Boxx Magazine
Brooklyn Vegan Chicago
Can You See The Sunset From The Southside
Chicago Reader Music
Chicagoist Arts & Events
Chicago Music Guide
Chicago Singles Club
Country Music Chicago
Cream Team
Dark Jive
The Deli Chicago
Jim DeRogatis
Fake Shore Drive
Gowhere Hip Hop
The Hood Internet
Jaded in Chicago
Largehearted Boy
Little White Earbuds
Live Fix Blog
Live Music Blog
Loud Loop Press
Oh My Rockness
Pop 'stache
Pop Matters
Resident Advisor
Sound Opinions
Sun-Times Music Blog
Theft Liable to Prosecution
Tribune Music
UR Chicago
Victim Of Time
WFMU's Beware of the Blog
Windy City Rock


Abbey Pub
Andy's Jazz Club
Aragon Ballroom
Auditorium Theatre
Beat Kitchen
Bottom Lounge
Buddy Guy's Legends
The Burlington
California Clipper
Concord Music Hall
Congress Theater
Cubby Bear
Double Door
Elbo Room
Empty Bottle
Green Mill
The Hideout
Honky Tonk BBQ
House of Blues
Kingston Mines
Lincoln Hall
Logan Square Auditorium
Mayne Stage
The Mutiny
Old Town School of Folk Music
Park West
The Promontory
Red Line Tap
Reggie's Rock Club & Music Joint
The Riviera
Thalia Hall
The Shrine
Symphony Center
Tonic Room
Uncommon Ground
The Vic
The Whistler

  Labels, Promoters
  & Shops:

Alligator Records
Beverly Records
Bloodshot Records
Dave's Records
Delmark Records
Drag City
Dusty Groove
Flameshovel Records
Groove Distribution
He Who Corrupts
Jam Productions
Jazz Record Mart
Kranky Records
Laurie's Planet of Sound
Minty Fresh
Numero Group
mP Shows
Permanent Records
Reckless Records
Smog Veil Records
Southport & Northport Records
Thick Records
Thrill Jockey Records Touch & Go/Quarterstick Records
Victory Records

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Transmission is the music section of Gapers Block. It aims to highlight Chicago music in its many varied forms, as well as cover touring acts performing in the city. More...
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