The Vanity Project’s choice to release their debut EP on January 1st was a bold move considering the nature of the day, but one we can be thankful for. Once the hangovers had cleared and reality resumed, ‘Graduation Blues’ was there waiting to save us from the bleak monotony of everyday life.
The Manchester-based indie-rock duo toy with serious concepts but downplay their severity using tongue-in-cheek humour and bric-a-brac instrumentation. Due to its experimental nature and use of intellectual lingo, the EP screams art school, but does so without coming across as pretentious. It’s like a quilt made up of small intricate patterns that have been stuck together using Pritt Stick – mature but not at all conservative.
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‘Graduation Blues’ is kick started with the track that gives the EP its name. It sets to work welding off the shackles of routine with a bubbly riff wrapped around a synthetic core that instantly transports the listener away from the drabness of winter. It becomes quickly evident that The Vanity Project sing about their surroundings, but do so in a critical, slightly self-deprecating way. They talk of being ‘tranquilised with tea’ and how ‘we all become Tories in the end’ –a horrifying prospect for young lefties.
Throughout the twenty minutes running time, you are taken on a bizarre coming-of-age journey. Despite the light-hearted melodies and happy-go-lucky vocals, the general vibe is quite a nihilistic one. Particularly on tracks such as ‘Good Guys & Bad Guys’ which highlights the bridge between good and bad and shows that as we age, the line becomes thinner and we realise that life is not quite so black and white. It juggles Disney, capitalism and anti-Semitism, using a mick-taking sense of humour to make a serious point.
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As with any decent debut, the cleverly crafted songs act as a megaphone from which artists can project their voice and establish their sense of identity. ‘Graduation Blues’ is unique in the way it is able to make you think while simultaneously offering a sense of escapism – a balance that should be cherished when current climates seem so bleak.
‘Graduation Blues’ is out now via the band’s Bandcamp.