Happy Birthday, Vessel!
9.2Overall Score
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Twenty One Pilots, Vessel
Fueled By Ramen

In the words of Tyler Joseph, ‘anyone, from anywhere, can do anything’. Though these words were uttered in front of millions at the 2017 GRAMMYs, it’s the words screamed alone in a basement back in 2013 that prove the local dreamer truly can do anything. Being their first album under Fueled By Ramen, Vessel was Twenty One Pilots’ first major step outside of Ohio — and the start of something extraordinary.

Vessel’s charm is entirely rooted in its rawness; the album feels a lot like a diary, written with the assumption that nobody would hear it. Songs like Truce, Guns For Hands and Fake You Out feel overwhelmingly personal, but are now fan favourites due to this honesty. Vessel is untarnished by the concept of public reaction, and its innocence and naivety is what makes listeners feel emotionally connected to not only the lyrics but Joseph himself.

People may be quick to shrug off Twenty One Pilots due to their ‘emo’ label, but Joseph’s lyrics are quite astonishing. Every song on Vessel has lyrics that strike awe within the listener, on the first or hundredth listen. The boys also don’t shy away from being wordy, and this excess of lyrical content just makes members of their Clique even more eager to learn every single syllable by heart. Migraine live is a perfect way of showing this: Joseph is silent for the entire first verse, instead holding the mic out to the audience… and by God, if the crowd haven’t made you deaf by the chorus, you’re lucky.

Twenty One Pilots also famously don’t confine their sound to one genre or mood, and this ignorance of musical conventions is Vessel’s charm. House of Gold is a clean, jolly ukulele sing-along about Joseph’s mother… which then leads into Car Radio, an electro-pop/hip-hop track with the guttural screaming climax of ‘AND NOW I JUST SIT IN SILENCE’. The duo’s ability to piece together such contrasting emotions in a way that feels so seamless is truly something else. Ode To Sleep is the finest example on the album of how effortlessly they can pull every genre together; drums, synths, gentle vocals and quickfire rap all manage to meld together into something awesome.

Vessel is a microcosm of everything Twenty One Pilots are. From the opening note of Ode To Sleep, it’s impossible not to be swept away by a giddy joy. It is emotionally dark whilst still sounding bright and catchy as hell. Tyler Joseph and Josh Dun are a genre all of their own, and this album allowed them to share it with the world. Vessel is a true classic and we’ll be holding onto it for years to come.