This Vasa article was written by Caitlin Damsell, a GIGsoup contributor. Edited by Natalie Whitehouse
The past four years have been pretty successful for Vasa. Since 2011, they’ve been livening up the Scottish music scene with their own eclectic instrumental trademark, putting substantial energy from the beginning – both into early releases and live shows. For such a youthful band, this new melodic blending of instruments has generated a new step in the instrumental genre – with the powerful guitar-led tracks presented in ‘Colours’ proving just that.
This debut, ten track album focuses on a musical exploration of the guitar-kind, with tracks ‘The Angry Dome’ and ‘As Long As it Doesn’t Explode’ driven by endless creativity, demonstrated through the solos and riffs. These tracks in particular show that voice and lyrics are no need here, with the strong chorus sections sung by instruments alone. It is also something ‘Fat Rolando’ achieves; serving as the first single to be released from the album, this track provides the listener with a mighty rhythm throughout its five and a half minute duration.
What is really magical about this release is the experimental nature within the production; Vasa really aren’t afraid to be ambitious. Whether it’s a slow tune, a layering of multiple guitar melodies at once, or even adding an strange sound or two in there; the rate at which ‘Colours’ develops itself is incredible.
This album is a clear example of such ambition, with constantly evolving sounds in every single minute. Shorter tracks ‘Punched’, and its sibling ‘Unpunched’ demonstrate this experimentation in sound, alternating from the faster tracks that surround them. From warm, relaxing vibes that take you away to a mystical land, to the inclusion of static noise, these two tunes work very well in musically delivering the opposite of a punch.
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The effort that has clearly been put into the construction of this release truly is impressive, and is evident through the thousands of melodies, patterns and beats. Being an instrumental band can prove to be difficult for some – however for Vasa, they master it.
Whether you’re into the genre or not, the tunes are fun, upbeat and dance-worthy (or jump evoking). Nearing the end, the concluding tracks ‘Ergonomic Keyboard’ and ‘Poseidon’s Kiss’ allow this musical adventure to come to a grand closing – both spanning six minutes in duration, they are possibly the most experimental of the album. Even up to the very last minute, the music remains to evolve and progress, until the point where the melody fades out into the finalising silence.
Overall, it’s clear that this album has taken a step into new grounds for instrumental music. They have fashioned their own style, and it clearly works well for them. ‘Colours’ is only really the beginning for Vasa – and with a debut this strong, things can only get better.
‘Colours’ is out on the 16th October via Black Sheep Records.