Vundabar – The ‘Gawk’ Album Review and Repressed Road Rage.
Photo credit by Caitlin McCann
Boston three-piece, Vundabar, are (in their own words) a ‘Sludgy Jangle Pop‘ band – and what are you supposed to take from that? It could be that The Smiths fell into a tar pit? (Maybe). This young Bostonian trio’s second album Gawk is catchy and as sweet as getting a silver BMW for Christmas.
Opening track ‘Chop’ is one of those songs that you can sing with a smile on your face even if you’re daylight sober. The rolling toms on the track always remind me of the double kick in Prince‘s ‘Darling Nikki’.
The band have kept up their solid Post-Punk songwriting vibes from their debut Antics, they keep it going and do it better, avoiding the cliched sophomore slump and instead bring a sophomore superior.
‘Oulala’ is tight and is the best Indie Rock that the late 00’s never put out. The trickling lead guitar against the slight hi-hat hits is like your BMW cruising on the autobahn at a casual ninety miles per hour.
‘Darla’ is skittering like bald tires on really wet tarmac. But Vundabar have this under control, this is their soundtrack to your indie-prom. They’re cool in that Mac Demarco Rock n’ Roll way, that drinks VKD for pre-drinks because it’s a good way to pace yourself and only drinks beer because being a stereotype is ironic.
Darla may be a Robot, but there’s nothing robotic about Vundabar’s playing on Gawk. Sometimes the song feels a bit underwhelming however, a soft shrug, as if I was to dance to this the same way as the last song of the night, Ive had a good time but I’m feeling deflated.
An example being the way that ‘Ash in the Sun’ has it’s skittering rolling percussion. A recurrent theme, and I would normally tire of something like this – I’m looking at you Crystal Castles and Lana Del Rey for over-using repeated sounds in your songs – but the chorus of ‘Ash in the Sun’ just makes the song come alive and I love it.
Album stand-out ‘Alien Blues’ is as crunchy as hitting your ex with your shiny new BMW. It’s a song I genuinely want to sing a long to, and it isn’t even a Charli XCX song, a Kanye West rap etc. It’s thunderous, it’s the sound of your new BMW belting away from the hit and run.
Vundabar, towards the closing end of the LP drive away into the sunset. The record doesn’t do anything new or unexpected at this point (‘Smile Boyo’ is solid on the lyric front as always) but takes a step back and shows you it’s legs on the almost six minute long ‘Desert Diddy’. This excites me because the band are showing they can do lengthy tracks but it could be tighter, it does have a drawl for a bit too long, it draws you in and drops you in a sloppy pool of motor oil.
Gawk is good. Gawk feels a little fresh, a little bit comfy, a little cosy, a little less like Bass Drum of Death/FIDLAR/all of that crowd and more of the band that was so good with ‘Holy Toledo’. Sophomore Slump? Sophomore Sling. Zwing.
Find the band via: