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Friday, September 25, 2009

Review: Ten Year Vamp - Don't Act Like You Know Me

Ten Year Vamp - Don't Act Like You Know Me
2009, Ten Year Vamp, LLC.

Albany, New York doesn't get the respect is deserves as a music scene (or for much else, for that matter). Most of the great acts that start there end up moving on to either Boston or New York where they become known, but Ten Year Vamp is poised to Albany back in the limelight in a big way. What can you say about a band that pumps out high-octane Rock N Roll while changing the way the music business is run? When Ten Year Vamp set out to make their latest record they decided to make it a communal process. Seeking funding from their fans, the band accepted 60 contributions from fans ranging from $25 to $2,000, then put 80 songs up on their website to let those same fans select which twelve would end up on the album. Fans even had a say in the album artwork, and all contributors will receive a share of the album sales. The resulting album, Don't Act Like You Know Me, shapes up to be one of the most dynamic rock albums of the year.

Ten Year Vamp opens with Never Know, an intensive and active Rock song that's perfect for Modern Rock Radio as well as Pop/Rock/hybrid formats. Never Know has serious commercial punch, and a hook that sinks into listener's brains and won't let go. Add in the gorgeous and powerful voice of Debbie Gabrione and suddenly you're talking about the sort of song that can't miss with the right push. Stay is an invitation not to be turned down wrapped up in a sexy, playful rock tune that's hungrier than it might sound at first listen. Say You Made Love To Me continues the trend of female-dominant sexuality in song. This isn't the sort of wanton sexuality that's generally marketed to the masses, but a healthy, choice-based female sexuality that's about satisfying needs than subjecting oneself to another's fantasies to fit in. Gabrione calls things as she sees them and isn't afraid to say what she wants. All of this celebration of feminine sexuality culminates in Pleasures (That I Call Mine); one of the most outspoken and healthy musical expressions I've heard in a long time. The fact that these songs rock like nobody's business just adds to the pulse-pounding drama and intrigue that Ten Year Vamp and Debbie Gabrione in particular, are bound to incur.

Faked It is a "When Harry Met Sally" moment set to pounding guitars in a powerful, fast-paced rock arrangement that's unforgettable. I Don't Need goes on to look at the relationship traps that women fall into, with the protagonist trying to find her own voice or power in a relationship. This song is more powerful in message, perhaps, than many of the songs here, but musically lags a bit behind the more dynamic material that came before it. One Night Ticket incorporates some New Wave/Electronic instrumentation into the rock setting while exploring the eternal question, "What if..." about the one that got away. Ten Year Vamp rocks prodigiously through Another Try and Oh So Nice And Slowly on the way to Call It, the closest thing to a pure love song on the album. This is certain mix tape material in a true power ballad that's pragmatic rather than syrupy and cliché. Rockstar reflects the realization that many who find stardom quickly come to; that the simple fact of being a star isn't all it's cracked up to be. It reflects a mature worldview that should fare the band well as they make the transition to rock stars themselves. Ten Year Vamp goes anything but quietly, signing off with Goodbye, perhaps one of the most empowering kiss off songs in the history of Rock N Roll.

It's really no wonder that Albany's Metroland Magazine's reader’s poll has named Ten Year Vamp best local rock band for five years running. With exposure on CNBC, Forbes, Yahoo!, and AOL Finance for their business model, and an incredibly dynamic new album, it's hard to see how Ten Year Vamp fails to explode on the national scene. Debbie Gabrione is the sort of front woman they make movies about, and the rest of the band (Mark Rose - guitar; Tim Keenan - bass; Andrew Foster - lead guitar; Gregory Nash - drums, and Bill Ketzer - keys, percussion) is incredibly tight. With a sound already refined and highly marketable, Ten Year Vamp just needs that one big break to fall in place. It will happen sooner or letter; music this good just doesn't stay hidden. Don't Act Like You Know Me is brilliant; a Wildy's World Certified Desert Island Disc. Don't miss it.

Rating: 5 Stars (Out of 5)

You can learn more about Ten Year Vamp at or You can purchase Don’t Act Like You Know Me as either a CD or download through You may also download the album from iTunes.