Without a net

Jon Crosby does something remarkable on Music for People.

He’s managed to take music from a whole lot of influences and turned them into a cohesive work.

Critics have already been wetting themselves over VAST’s Music for People for good reason. This album jumps from anthemic rock to metallic thunder to lush string arrangements to everything in between, without a single two-second pause between tracks.

The opening strains of “The Last One Alive” call to mind Starfish-era Church, but when that opener segues into the album’s first single, “Free,” Crosby turns into a throat-bursting powerhouse, proclaiming his freedom at full volume. Afterward, Crosby retreats and almost turns into Boy-era Bono during the majestic bridge of “I Don’t Have Anything.”

And that’s just the first three tracks. As the album progresses, Crosby processes even more diverse sources. There’s a sliver of an Engima reference with a Gregorian chant-like sample on “What Else Do I Need.” “Blue” features an etheral piano and string arrangement that’s equal parts Lou Reed and Paul McCartney. “Land of Shame” even moves along on a shuffle beat.

Music for People is a sonic rollercoaster ride never on the verge of flying apart, even when your eyes tell you it should.

The only criticism that can be levied on the album is it’s relatively indescript mix. With such a work with a broad range of dynamics, it almost seems a shame that the guitars don’t buzz louder or the strings sweep more broadly.

But hey — that’s what volume knobs were made for.