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This is my record of 2017 so far. It’s that simple. VANT have produced the record for which at least I have been thirsting for in ‘Dumb Blood’.
Their sound is a justified anger, expressed through a myriad of tunes clocking in at 80 seconds (‘Parasite’) to over the 6 minute mark. The band is best know for publicly tackling political issues in their tracks, it is an unavoidable part of their image and sound. Mattie said of this last year that “we let our lyrics and interviews do the talking and when we go on stage we just have fun” and that, rather succinctly, is the crux of the band right there. With no other group right now can mosh whilst singing “I don’t believe in God” or “It only takes a second to burn your birth certificate up”. It’s really refreshing.
They have been compared to the likes of the Clash, which isn’t totally inaccurate as they do have some definite punk credentials. ‘Put down your Gun’ is perhaps the best example of this direct, punk message. It’s a simple, gorgeous, below the belt, gyrating riff that propels the chorus, in which lead singer Mattie Vant tells us to stop living in fear. Which brings me onto another point. It’s not a crushingly negative record, as you might think it would be considering the state of politics at the moment. Mattie’s lyrics are angry yes, “we need peace and love, all you motherfuckers” but never without hope, thanks to the weirdly positive vibes we get from the rhythm section.
‘Dumb Blood’ may take some getting used to if you’re a first time listener; the directness of the lyrics and the fast thrashing off the riffs is enough to catch anyone off-guard. But it is well worth getting into for repeat listens. The band are as tight as they have ever been, having come off the back of an insanely intense touring schedule that started in 2015 with the introduction of new drummer Greenie, who has had his drumming chops certified by musicradar who named him their best drummer in the world last year. His thunderous aggression really accelerates the velocity of tracks like ‘Fly-By-Alien’ and ‘Karma Seeker’.
The record does have its quieter periods as well, with ‘Are We Free?’ providing us with a nice, long and ultimately soothing intro, centred around a hypnotic bass riff, which is much needed after the scorching ‘Parasite’.
All I can urge you to do is go and listen. VANT are giving indie-music a second-wind, they’ve made their sound an expertly crafted and, more importantly, relevant one. This is a record that will be looked upon kindly years from now, it says what needs to be said at the moment. And it’s not afraid to say “keep sucking my dick while my friend fucks your mother”. It’s a record that will hopefully put them on the map even, to provide them with a greater platform from which to preach this angry, indie-punk righteousness.