Now it may be seem like an attempt at vying for the ‘stating the bleedin’ obvious award’ but Sync is very much not Kerrang! in terms of the music we tend to cover, which means that out of all the more heavily-inclined stuff out there, it has to take something pretty special from that genre to get us really excited. This is certainly special.
We’ve been tracking Scottish four-piece outfit Vukovi for a while now. Their energetic yet tuneful sound hooks you in, with vocalist Janine Shilstone providing the real point of differentiation from a lot of bands out there with her great range and powerful vocals.
Vukovi’s self-titled debut album (out today, 10/3) has been in the making for a while, and it’s clear that it has been a real labour of love. Its twelve songs are mostly spiky, upbeat affairs but this sometimes belies the multitude of themes at their heart, including topics such as individuality, drug abuse, depression and suicide. “The record might sound quirky,” says Shilstone. “But there are many darker notes in there…”
Tracks like Prey see Shilstone digging deep into personal experience (“It’s about a time in my life where I thought I’d met my knight in shining armor – but he fucked me up even more”) and the sublime I’m Wired, the singer’s favourite song on the record: “I wrote it trying to describe being in a relationship with severe depression and trying to express that you need that person even though you don’t show it most of the time.”
But the undoubted meaning and depth to the songs does not render this an overpowering or difficult listen – this is much more a collection of great songs which paint a picture of a creative, inventive band. There is a fun streak that runs throughout, with Bouncy Castle and especially Animal being our own favourites from the album, both cracking examples of pop-rock at its best. Their real quality shines though on the more subtle tracks such as Wander, in which the noise is tamed to reveal some accomplished, brilliantly written tunes. It’s the variation on this album that enables it to bust traditional genres… which is exactly how it should be.
The band starts a UK tour today in Glasgow (10 March), before rolling on to Leeds (11), Manchester (13), Bristol (14), London (16), Nottingham (18), and Aberdeen (19) – snaffle tickets here. If any of those fine cities are near you, head along and catch tracks from what is one of our albums of the year so far.