Damn Vandals: Done For Desire

pic Marcus Maschwitz

Anticipation for the debut album from UK rock band Damn Vandals was on a real high after their widely acclaimed Beautiful Mind EP earlier in the year. Could the band match or even improve on what was a remarkable release? Quite simply the band has not only stepped on from the release but to our mind they have with Done For Desire blown it out of the water. The release is a certain front runner for album of the year and is destined for classic status once its might and sheer excellence dawns on the music world.

The London based quartet of vocalist Jack Kansas, guitarist Frank Pick, bassist Adam Kilemore Gardens, and Chris Christianson on drums, has pulled in comparisons which range from Echo and the Bunnymen, Buzzcocks, Pavement, and he band has been suggested as the English version of Queens of The Stone Age. As Done For Desire sent surges of euphoria through the heart with each and every song though the main thought for us was that surely Damn Vandals are the reincarnation of the Fatima Mansions. With the same sharp and imaginative craft lyrically and musically as the outstanding Irish band Damn Vandals add to the carefully shaped caustic and ingenious breath the irresistible addictive hooks of a Teardrop Explodes and the earnest incisive passion found in the previously mentioned Echo and the Bunnymen. This makes for stunning songs and sounds which trigger the fullest thrills and evoke the deepest pleasure whilst vocally Kansas, his voice a glorious hybrid of Cathal Coughlan, Pete Wylie, and Ian McCulloch, adds emotive tones drawn from deep within his heart to wonderfully ignite the already impressive lyrical invention.

Produced by Julian Simmons (Midlake, The Phenomenal Handclap Band, Ed Sheeran, Guillemots, and Goldheart Assembly), Done For Desire immediately leaves one breathless with excitement through opener Revolution / Rehearsal. The lead single from the album leaps upon the ear with slashes of guitar and a bass which prowls the tune like a wolf licking its lips. As Kansas asks questions and provokes with razor sharp lyrics through his impassioned vocals the track boils the air with high voltage energy and scorched melodic strokes to trigger aural addiction, something the album eagerly and persistently builds upon.

The following As Seen On TV bristles with electrified rock intensity whilst again the bass of Kilemore Gardens invites tingles with its dark and burly tones. There is a slight Max Raptor feel to the song and alongside its predecessor the song soon unveils a thrilling diversity within the music of Damn Vandals.

As the likes of the provocative Kids Want Guns and the darkly wanton Sex It Narcissus tease and throb within the ear there is nothing but compliance before the mesmeric presence of the band. The second of the pair takes one on an edge of the seat journey through shadows and a hugely charged musical imagination as potent as it is impassioned.

Though every track is a masterpiece the brilliance of This Amazing and The Revenge Of Spider Toothy hold the heart with an orgasmic power. The first swerves and sways with deliberate mischief within its pulsating energy and the perfectly gathered siren driven hooks and melodies. The track ignites the atmosphere with such fiery enterprise and rhythmic hypnotism brought with immense skill it is hard to see why the song as a single a while ago did not see the band instantly elevated to essential listening.

The second of the pair is a brilliant blend of garage punk and psychobilly. Sounding like the secret offspring from a union of The Cramps, The Horrors in their formative years and Th’ Legendary Shack Shakers, The Revenge Of Spider Toothy stomps over the senses with sheer majesty. The guitar of Pick always outstanding throughout the album leaves trails of flames with his magnificent play on this song whilst the drums of Christianson stalk the ear like a caged animal.

Closing track Beautiful Mind taken from the previous acclaimed EP makes an end as irresistible as the beginning of the album. It swirls around and through the ear like a stunning sunset of sound, its heated magnetism leaving one bursting to the seams with adoration for it and the release as a whole. As much as one looked there is not a single element which the band can be pulled up on within Done For Desire, it is as near to perfection as one can get. If this does not make Damn Vandals one of the biggest presences in UK music then something is seriously wrong with the judgement of people.

Ringmaster 26/07/2012

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These Reigning Days : Living It Up

Made up of musicians with a pedigree which places the trio on an immediate accomplished level before a note is heard, UK band These Reigning Days has in its relatively short life been on a definite and steep rise. Formed by Dan Steer the former frontman and songwriter of The Quails, the band opened up their live aspect barely six months ago by supporting Metronomy and with the acclaimed release of their debut single Changes alongside, the Devon based three piece took no time in waking up and drawing strong attentive ears their way.

Releasing second single Living It Up, the band easily concretes and improves upon the impression from their debut of a more than solid unit capable of fusing strong melodies and intelligent songwriting into one infectious atmospheric sound. The new single lights the touch paper to the belief and promise that the band is well on course to becoming a major force in UK music, whether sooner or later it seems a must and with the talk of their impending debut album confidently laying claim to brilliance it could be the former.

Completed by bassist/vocalist Jonny Finnis (Numb) and drummer Joe Samsone (Morph), These Reigning Days create sounds to energise the ear through a blend of indie rock invention flavoured by mesmeric electro touches which without standing directly out tease and bewitch within the as on Living It Up, anthemic surging heavier sounds. Produced by Yoad Nevo (Pet Shop Boys, Duran Duran, Girls Aloud, Goldfrapp) the song is an expansive and enveloping weave of passion and stirring energy which leaves a lasting welcome impression long after its departure.

The track opens with the emotive tones of Steer cupped in the hands of elegant atmospheric keys and a building expressive ambience. It soon opens its arms to offer a muscular intensity evolving into a rampant and pulse racing energy but just as your expectations steady for the crescendo the song slips into its emotional shadows again to wrap further around the senses. With beautifully crafted continual switches between the slower impassioned grace and the lively almost feisty energy the song is a deliciously unpredictable yet undemanding pleasure.

If the album has songs even more enjoyable than Living It Up then it is sure to justify the high claim coming before it, if they are simply comparable to this single it will be a release which will enchant and excite multitudes and see These Reigning Days leaping to the fore front of UK indie music.

www.thesereigningdays.co.uk

RingMaster 26/07/2012

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