News of any new Damn Vandals release always sparks a keen lick of the lips and a flutter of anticipation in the heart of The RR thanks to the band’s previous explosive roars of spiky rock ‘n’ roll posing as singles and albums. So no surprise that when the announcement of the UK rockers new single came through, the same reaction escaped. Consisting of I Hate School backed by Whisky Going Free, the release is a recognisable Damn Vandals stomp with the unapologetic attitude and fiery enterprise the London quartet is so renowned for.
At times it is hard to imagine that it is only back in 2012 that Damn Vandals started exciting ears with the release of the Beautiful Mind EP and soon after debut album Done For Desire, the band seeming to have incited ears for many more years. Each release made quick and potent impressions with the latter spawning a host of essential and thrilling singles luring as rich a dose of acclaim as the album sparked itself. Live the band’s hook loaded mix of garage, psych punk, and earthy rock ‘n’ roll has equally earned the band a big reputation and fiercely loyal following, a success only cemented and expanded with last year’s uncaging of second album Rocket Out Of London, it another web of contagiously addictive tracks working within the impressive body of the album or subsequently alone as incendiary singles. The two songs making up the new single have the same source, both I Hate School and Whisky Going Free taken from the Julian Simmons (Midlake, Ed Sheeran, Guillemots, Goldheart Assembly) produced, heavily praised full-length, and each rising to the challenge of making singular statements of persuasion.
I Hate School swings in on a sultry melodic lure and winy groove as vocalist Jack Kansas quickly adds his distinctive delivery and tone. As his voice takes hold so he and fellow guitarist Frank Pick continue that first enticement with fingers on guitar strings, but broadening its thickness with bluesy coatings for an increasingly tempting invitation. Alongside, the more grounded rhythms of bassist Adam Kilemore Gardens and drummer Chris Christianson stroll, emphasizing and shadowing the fiery textures around them perfectly.
Within the heart of Rocket Out Of London, it is fair to say that the song was a touch shaded by the more raucous dynamics and drama of other tracks around it but there is no denying that as a single, it seems to discover a new strength and character to bewitch and inflame ears with ease. Ending on a persuasive anthem of vocal roar from Kansas, again at perfect contrast to the smouldering sonic climate of guitar, the track has ears smiling and satisfaction full to bursting.
Second song Whisky Going Free has feet tapping and hips swaying within a breath of its start, hooks and grooves flirting like a casually flirtatious seductress as rhythms bring their own saucy revelry to the creative party. Bass and guitar soon unite in a tango which drives the song from start to finish, their tempting enticing cradling the matching swagger which too come from the breeding of imagination and temptation. Steely guitar jangles and punk seeded noise only adds to the thick and riveting persuasion on offer, the song undiluted and unfussy rock ‘n’ roll as inventive and instinctively compelling as anything out there and from anyone.
Whilst fans wait for new material, I Hate School/Whisky Going Free provides another essential Damn Vandals moment for 2015 whilst for newcomers, the single is a potent way to step into the creative and off-kilter ingenuity of Damn Vandals.
I Hate School/Whisky Going Free will be released November 6th.
Upcoming Live Show: The Dublin Castle, London on Fri 27 Nov 2015.
Pete RingMaster 02/11/2015
Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright
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