by Richard Hart
I’ll admit that I was at a loss how to start this review. There was scant information out there about the band with the V’s in there name. Vuvuvultures are a four piece act; two girls and two boys. They are releasing their first album “Push / Pull” this year and it was lead out by the single “Steel Bones”.
But there wasn’t much biographical information on them, no interesting little factoids to lead the album out. So instead I had to look for a different way to start the review on this album. It’s got a lot of slick production, driving but not overwhelming guitar and a bit of punky vocals from the female lead singer.
But what genre would you place it as? It’s not quite rough enough to be punk, not really fast and not really driving enough to be considered hardcore. It’s sure not heavy metal so it’s sort of modern indie. Far from low-fi, the production is lush and layered and it’s a fine feat of music in its own right.
The initial impression wasn’t very strong, the album is neither particularly loud nor particularly fast nor particularly anything. But theres solid production, good vocal work and the whole thing has a consistent, metallic tone that is original in its own right. They don’t quite sound like anyone else either. The nearest act that sprang to mind was the “Yeah Yeah Yeah’s” but they don’t really sound that much like them.
The album is punchy, full of short songs that build up steadily, hit a pitch and then drop off. There’s nothing formulaic about it but there’s no avant garde design in the track designs. “Whatever You Will” is a superb slice of indie writing, starting off with plaintive vocals and then getting progressively rockier as it goes on, fading down and then picking up again. It’s been done before but not exactly like this.
There’s a sort of electric beat that runs through “Tell No One” that vaguely recalls “The Knife” but again, not that much. It’s a rather haunting track but again, not exactly eerie. Things take a turn for the rockier end with the Strangler; a song that evokes late seventies or early eighties rock. It’s got a stripped back feel that showcases the skill of the band but retains the strong production values of the album.
Another Hit is a fast paced, almost poppy song where the vocals are a bit keener, a little bit higher but they settle down to the same growling tone the rest of the album has. The wildly named Ctrl, Alt, Mexicans is an oblique way to start the album and it’s a strange, distorted track full of production effects.
Stand out single “Steel Bones” is built around a catchy chorus, interesting vocals and some Moog style effects work. Deaf Epic is a fast paced song with slick guitar work that sounds a tiny bit like Placebo, little deft touches of guitar.
Death of Us All is one of the more downbeat songs but retains the same fast pace and slick production as the rest of the album. The close out track Empurarr is a long, strange track filled with doom laden guitar and glittering sound effects work. It’s a strange way to end the album that has generally been so positive with a much more introspective track but it showcases the range of the band.
“Push / Pull” has truly superb production values and is a very strong debut for a band. It sounds like the sort of work that you’d expect from a veteran band. There’s a uniformity in its sound that makes the album hard to judge on one listen and it has few stand out tracks to market it around. Instead here is an album which tells a story, which needs to be listened to all the way through and more than once.
It’s not a complex, artistic design but it is a superb piece of musical engineering which can be enjoyed and appreciated in equal measure. Now if you don’t mind, I’m going to give it another listen. You should too