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Vanlustbader - The People Vs Vanlustbader

Vanlustbader, The People Vs Vanlustbader

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 4 out of 5

AUSTRALIAN rockers Vanlustbader proudly profess to deliver nothing but rock in its purest form. They’re all about massive songs and big performances.

Debut album The People Vs Vanlustbader is therefore a riot of swaggering guitar riffs, classic values and fun, honest music-making. It’s loud, fun, occasionally tender and will certainly appeal to fans of the likes of Black Rebel Motorcycle Club.

Dragged up (by their own admission) in Brisbane, Australia, Vanlustbader fuse rock, indie and punk in a breathless, energetic kind of way that certainly impresses. They wear their musical influences on their sleeve, which is no bad thing.

As frontman Shane explains: “The band’s motto ‘what you see is what you get’ is all about pure, unadulterated rock, with a heavy helping of roll thrown in. But as individuals we couldn’t be more different.

“Our guitarist, Paul, is a massive punk and huge David Bowie fan, Terry is a 6ft 6ins half-Japanese, half-German guy, drummer John is plain crazy and I’m just a music nutcase who buys all his albums from charity shops.

“Some bands are just photocopies of their 60s or 70s heroes, and once they get off the stage they’re just nerds. With us, there’s no pretence.”

Such comments smack of an arrogance that could only be Australian. But listening to the album, it’s clear that they’re not about bullshitting their listeners. The People Vs… rocks and, for the most part, its energy is electric.

The album was recently preceded by the adrenaline-rush of meaty riffs and anthem-like chants of Rock N Roll Part III, a joyful amalgamation of Kiss’ God Gave Rock & Roll To Us and early Primal Scream. With a chorus of ‘I love rock and I love roll’, you can pretty much tell all you need to know about the track’s sensibilities.

If you enjoyed that, then you’re sure to dig the rest of the long-player. Tracks to look out for include the melody-strewn Cuba with its radio-friendly verses and slightly warped vocals. It’s uplifting chorus is made for singing along to.

The no-fuss Let’s Roll Em is sure to appeal to the black leather jacket brigade, packed with crunching, no-nonsense riffs and an unapologetic swagger (much like early Oasis), while the glam-rock of Radio Tokyo recalls early T-Rex with its fuzzy guitars and playful endeavour.

Yet there is also a quieter side that’s equally capable of impressing. When Good Things Go Bad is an excellent indie-ballad packed with yearning lyrics, gorgeous melodies and a melancholy glow. It shows they have a mature side, as well as a sensitive one.

It’s followed by the similarly restrained VLB Disco which vocally seems to be adopting the warped style of early Tim Burgess (of The Charlatans), while tossing in some low-key hooks and underlying keyboards. It’s another noteworthy effort.

So while it may be called The People Vs Vanlustbader, rock fans ought to be clamouring to hear it. This is a cracking debut effort from an Oz act that look set to enjoy a similarly global following to country-mates, The Vines.

Track listing:

  1. Communique
  2. Here We Go Again
  3. Cuba
  4. Let’s Roll ‘Em
  5. My Baby’s Man
  6. When Good Things Go Bad
  7. VLB Disco
  8. Radio Tokyo
  9. City Vs Country
  10. Rock ‘n’ Roll