With their second EP ‘A Coming of Age’, The Van T’s have built on the grungy surf-rock flavours of their debut release ‘Laguna Babe’ and proven why they’re one of the most exciting bands in Scotland right now. This EP is exhilarating, enchanting and just plain brilliant; seriously, get this in and around your ears as soon as possible.
’35mm’ is the perfect opener with its squealing guitars leading into captivating harmonies from twin sisters Chloe and Hannah Van Thompson. Once again, the band show a knack for creating huge, heavy, scuzz-laden sounds while making them ridiculously catchy and melodic at the same time. It’s no mean feat and is proof of this band’s song-writing abilities as the snarling verse moves seamlessly into an infectious chorus. The song is about this generation’s desire to capture every moment through technology; if there’s any track that will make you want to live in the moment though, it’s this one.
What becomes immediately clear is the production and song-writing levels have cranked up a notch since ‘Laguna Babe’. There’s still the same rawness as before; this time though it is harnessed more effectively with a wonderfully layered sound. With this in mind, ‘Blood Orange’ is perhaps their best song to date. From the opening chord, it encapsulates everything we love about the band; those amped up, grungy guitars hitting us with a wall of huge sonic proportions from the get-go. Heavy with reverb, a blistering opening is energised by the dual vocal delivery over layers of howling guitar riffs and the terrific interplay between bass and drums from Joanne Forbes and Shaun Hood. It’s a track full of attitude which builds up to a cathartic release on the chorus before an epic finale.
Meanwhile ‘No Man’s Money’ and ‘Dandy’ bring other shades to the EP. The former is characterised by delightfully, summery riffs with a softer vocal delivery and a middle eight that is impossible not to dance along to. ‘Dandy’ on the other hand starts moodily, ‘avoid the lightening if it ever comes’, with an assertive bass-line, plenty of reverb and Johnny Marr-inspired riffs, before building up to a characteristically addictive chorus. Both songs ache to be heard in the sunshine and will undoubtedly go down a storm at this summer’s festivals, with the band appearing at the likes of T in the Park and Electric Fields.
On their second EP, ‘A Coming of Age’, The Van T’s sound like a band who are finding their own lane and blossoming in it. They manage to combine influences from a number of musical eras, whether it’s from genres such as surf-rock, grunge or indie pop, and make them sound new and fresh. It is an EP full of delicious intensity with no care for subtlety; one thing is for sure, it’s made to be played with lots and lots of volume. With a reputation already growing, you can’t help but feel that this is going to make 2016 a lot more exciting for this Glasgow band. Now all we need to do is wait on the album…
‘A Coming of Age’ is out now via Bloc+Music
This Van T’s article was written by Suzanne Oswald, a GIGsoup contributor.
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