- 20 Jun 19
DUBLIN TRIO GO FOR THE JUGULAR
Before Dublin-based trio Fangclub entered the studio to record their second LP, their drummer Dara Coleman jokingly declared that he was “willing to lose his mind for the album.” Be careful what you wish for, as they say. Because by all accounts, the birth of Vulture Culture was one the members of the band will never forget – peppered as it was with paranoia, obsession and a hefty dose of struggle. However, pressure creates diamonds: this 11-track opus is most certainly the jewel in the Irish alt-rock kings’ crown to date.
In a bid to be as honest as possible, singer/guitarist Steven King apparently left writing the lyrics until the last minute, The end result is that Fangclub have delivered some of their most urgent and arresting songs you’ll hear all year. Vulture Culture is an unflinchingly heavy record, both sonically and emotionally. The overarching theme of the album is violence “towards yourself and other things”; Steven King sees Vulture Culture as a culmination of a lot of chaos and inner mental violence, which almost capsized the band. “Making this record got us through the fog,” he explained, “and we have a new lease of life. The energy is real, the chaos makes sense, and the violence is fuel for the fire.”
Which might be seen as a kind of long-hand for saying that their new record rocks like a demon. And it does.
Sounding both fresh and familiar – an almost impossible trick to pull off – Vulture Culture takes a step on from last year’s True Love EP. It serves up a tasty stew of sugared melodies, allied to punk and grunge-minded guitars, which evoke the tempestuous spirit of earlier Irish outfits like Kerbdog, Ash and Fighting With Wire. Make no mistake, however: this is Fangclub being gloriously themselves all the way.
The opener ‘Last Time’, which starts as a lullaby and ends with a roar, is a huge gamble – but it pays off in spades. Next up, the title track is an exhilarating, guitar-heavy marriage of playful rhythms and powerful riffs, whilst ‘Nightmare’ shows off their flair for razorsharp hooks.
The record is packed with future pit anthems, notably including the aptly named ‘Heavy Handed’ and ‘Viva Violent’. Elsewhere, ‘Hesitations’ is the heaviest song they’ve done yet; ‘Black Rainbow’ is a ferocious fusion of sweet vocals and head-crushing guitars; and the brilliant ‘King Dumb’ has a little of ‘Nowhere’ by Therapy? in its DNA.
Overall, this is an impressively muscular statement from a band arriving at the peak of their powers. Vulture Culture is one of the best rock albums you’ll hear in 2019.