Vukovi - Vukovi
Vukovi are set to release debut album on March 10th, and promo images for the release foreshadow exactly how the record sounds. The record is a spectacle of bright and colourful pop, blended harmoniously with brooding, gritty rock. Plus, with a plentiful dose of singles already released from the record, the band have done more than their fair share of enticing fans as to just how huge this record is! However, don’t be too quick to memorize some of the older tracks from the album, with plenty being reinvented for the record.
The record opens up with strength rarely present in debut albums: "La Di Da" comes in with vocalist Janie Shilstone proving how great a vocalist she is, her pop vocals marrying perfectly with the rocky and gritty music the rest of Vukovi play below her. The intro is mainly just Shilstone’s vocals bare before a math-y riff kicks in, and gets the track bouncing leading on to a rhythmic verse. The chorus’ hook is superb and a definite earworm. While the songs' chorus and Shilstones' vocals may seem to hold a poppy vibe, her lyrics definitely don’t and are sincere and personal that definitely swing towards the band's rockier end of the spectrum.
"And He Lost His Mind" keeps the pace of "La Di Da"; a verse full of attitude and gritty bass and guitars. With a fast paced chorus again laced with a catchy hook the band show again how well they fuse rock and pop together. Follow up "Weirdo" is an introspective track lyrically on Shilstone herself. The band's sound has already proved their take on merging pop and rock together makes for a quirky blend; a call to arms for all who are labeled “weirdo” or “peculiar”, Shilstone encourages the listener to defy society's expectations and embrace who you are. The instrumentals on "Weirdo" are somewhat laid back by the standards set so far, with a simple driven chorus.
"La Di Da" video
Filmed by: Andy Mills
Creative Producer: Janine Shilstone
"Target Practice" comes in with more gritty guitars and a bass driven verse. The chorus is one of the more poppy numbers on the record, with a glittery guitar riff harmonising Shilstone’s pop-ready vocals. The song delivers a message to music journalists/critics that aren’t a fan of their work telling them regardless of what they say, Vukovi aren’t going to quit.
"Prey" is a softer hitting track, while still rocky the song has a smoother pop vibe to it. A track about a bad relationship is a clear contender for one of the band's most blatantly relatable songs, however on an album with so many belters and intelligent, honest lyrics, that’s saying something.
"Bouncy Castle" was released back at the end of 2015, yet has received a brilliant facelift at the hands of producer Bruce Rintoul. A while it doesn’t exactly live up to the title "Bouncy Castle", the track still holds a subtle essence of Vukovi’s energy from other tracks. The record simmers down even more with Wander, the most emotional of Vukovi. Written about a family friend's suicide, the song is raw and real, and throws a real spanner in the works. Vukovi don’t just show that they can be brash and in your face, but also humble and bare-boned.
"I’m Wired" is one of the more experimental tracks on Vukovi: brilliant yet subtle rhythms from bass player Jason Trotter, and drummer Colin Irving, and with guitarist Hamish Reilly’s guitar battle against synth-pop elements of the songs with his distorted effects, somehow the two fit perfectly together and allows the pace of the album to flow faster again.
Filmed by: Andy Mills
"Animal" is a track that really caught my attention to the band at the start of last year, and I still hold the view that it’s a fucking banger. Fast, bouncy and catchy as shit, this is a brilliant song to introduce Vukovi. The track sees another update from Rintoul’s production and slight change ups in the song itself. For me, a personal highlight of the album, the song is a rollercoaster ride from start to finishing, including a brooding and stompy instrumental breakdown alongside a cheerleader chant of the songs title with production on Trotter’s bass really beefing the track up compared to the original single’s mix. Another older track, showing Vukovi’s knack for penning tracks leagues away lyrically from Shilstone’s glamorous pop vocals: "Boy George". Another fuck you to people Shilstone has come across in her life, this one is about the more egotistical members of society.
"He Wants Me Not" starts off as another toned down track, and its chorus shows off a standard pop rock formula for songwriting. This isn’t a bad thing though, it’s still not consistent with any other song on the record, a more generic song for a band like Vukovi still shows they can create multiple songs that fall under the pop rock umbrella term. For me, the song is the weakest of the album, and I still love it, it’s catchy, driven and sets up for closing track "Colour Me In" perfectly, and still show’s Shilstone’s lyrics, especially regarding relationships, are extremely relatable.
"Colour Me In" is a smooth and soft track from the outset. The band here best mimicking the vocals on the track, while keeping a slight rock element to the track, it’s a very poppy one but more towards a ballad style that bubblegum. With a closer so emotive in both Shilstone’s vocals and the rest of the band's instrumentals, Vukovi close out album one on a definite high note.
Vukovi’s last real release was five years ago, and since then they’ve written and rewritten tracks for a sensational debut album. Fresh and innovative from start to finish the wait for a full length for fans has clearly been worth it! However I will say, please guys don’t leave it another five years on the follow up okay?