X Ambassadors’ stomping, syncopated full-length debut, VHS, is all about exploration. Ironically it proved to be a journey — as the antiquated technology name-checked in the album’s title indicates — through the past. The band's KIDinaKORNER labelmates Imagine Dragons and Jamie N Commons appear on VHS ("Fear," "Low Life," and "Jungle," respectively), but the most noticeable guests are the band members’ younger, more restless selves. The songs on VHS are woven with a series of “interludes,” or bits of audio from the archives from their family video albums.
"Moving Day" and "First Gig" provide a cinematic narrative and pay homage to their love for hip-hop. (Classic albums from De La Soul, Dr. Dre, Fugees, and Eminem also featured micro-dramas or gags between tracks.) “I wanted the album to feel like a movie,” the band’s singer and guitarist Sam Harris says. Consequently, the songs on VHS are about movement, speed, and the determination to navigate away from heartbreak and the constraints of small-town status quo.
VHS brings X Ambassadors full circle. “This album is the culmination of all the work we’ve put in since seventh grade,” Sam says. “I wanted to show people who we are - a group of brothers, best friends, and family who’ve been through so much together.” In one of the interludes, “Y2K Time Capsule,” the Harris brothers’ dad asks them where they see themselves in 15 years. (The answer: “Very far away.”) That was in 1999 and now, just over a decade and a half on, Sam’s soul has been restored by re-engaging with his origins. He maintains a new sense of peace and understanding for the place that made him with fresh eyes. “It’s beautiful,” he says of the land known for its gorges, lakes, foliage and now, X Ambassadors. You can and probably should go home again.
X Ambassadors VHS Track Listing:
1. Y2K Time Capsule
3. Moving Day
5. Hang On
7. First Show
11. Low Life
12. Adam & Noah's Priorities
18. Good News On The Remix
20. VHS Outro