- 05 Jul 19
Two years after the release of their self-titled debut, the north Dublin alt-rock outfit are back with a vengeance.
Informed by violence, mental health, addiction and the ills of modern society, Vulture Culture sees Fangclub, the faces of our current flip-cover issue, taking their raw alt-rock sound to new heights. To celebrate the release, we’re breaking down the album track-by-track.
1. 'Last Time'
An unexpected opener, ‘Last Time’ leans towards a sombre, stripped-back Elliot Smith sound for its first half, as frontman Steven King laments the past in a tortured conversation with himself. Just after the midway point, however, Fangclub’s triumphant grunge instrumentation is back, as the entire band joins in the roaring chorus. The slow-burning journey from a whisper to a scream is a gamble - but its pays off in spades.
2. 'Vulture Culture'
Armed with an irresistible riff, playful rhythms and mammoth pop-rock melodies, the title-track is a 180-degree twist in approach. An exhilarating listen from start to finish, the track introduces us to the overarching theme of the album: the predatory behaviour of the vulture-like people in modern society.
Post-punk and grunge-pop influences are on full display on ‘Nightmare’, which boasts one of the sharpest hooks on the album. Again, Steven's brutally honest lyrics are cloaked with an infectious alt-rock groove.
4. 'Viva Violent'
Informed by both personal and societal violence, 'Viva Violence' is a seething track. With a jagged aggression simmering below the surface throughout, the instrumentation reflects the unaddressed turmoil living inside us all. It's raw enough to keep you guessing, but showcases the band's mature restraint too.
5. 'Every Day'
A classic alt-rock track, 'Every Day' ditches most of the pop influences in favour of a deeply confessional approach. The brooding lyrics are dark even by the rest of the album's standards, showing a man in the depths of desperation.
Vulture Culture's first single, 'Hesitations' packs as much dynamite as it did on its initial release back in May. One of the most fearlessly violent tracks on the album, the heavy hitter embraces massive riffs with a ferocious energy. At one point, Fangclub enlist the assistance of a children's choir to join the chorus - with expectedly eerie results.
The grunge-pop is back on 'Kingdumb' - the album's closest resemblance to a love song. Obsession and addiction are recurring theme across Vulture Culture. 'Kingdumb' however, explores what happens when that addiction happens to be another person.
8. 'Heavy Handed'
Another form of obsession takes centre stage on 'Heavy Handed', as the depths of substance addiction are explored against a backdrop of effervescent rock. Powerful production once again results in a track that's well-packaged, but still embraces the brutality of its subject matter.
9. 'All I Have'
A confessional track, 'All I Have' sees Fangclub embracing their vulnerabilities within a moody, post-punk package. Aggression takes the backseat here, as the band take a soul-baring approach while confronting mental health struggles.
10. 'Black Rainbow'
Dubbed the "really weird bipolar song" by Steven, 'Black Rainbow' is an unexpected standout. Pulling on influences as diverse as Marilyn Manson, The Cribs, The Cure and David Bowie, the distorted track hints at a thrilling new direction in Fangclub's sound.
On the closing track, Fangclub return to the central themes of the album. A soaring finisher, 'Slow' combines pounding energy with a raw sense of triumph. While there's no easy conclusion to Vulture Culture, the Dublin grunge heroes have undoubtedly presented us with one of the finest rock albums of the year.
To get your hands on our current issue, in which Fangclub tell us all about facing down their demons, see here.