Signing to Parlophone Records just one year after forming, indie rockers VANT – who describe themselves as “citizens of planet Earth” – will release DUMB BLOOD at what feels like a fitting time.
The four-piece have made a name for themselves over the last couple of years thanks to relentless touring and hard-hitting, accessible singles. So far they have played a mix of intimate headline shows, festivals and support slots for the likes of You Me At Six and Catfish and the Bottlemen. On the strength of this album, they too are ready to take the biggest stages by storm.
Commencing with ‘The Answer’, which has become their signature opening song at live shows, the tone of proceedings is immediately set. Frontman Mattie Vant’s lyrics are incendiary and provocative set to a passionate, howling vocal. The guitar sections, basslines and frantic drumming all combine to create a powerful track name-checking the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, as Mattie demands “what’s the answer?” to a range of crises.
‘Put Down Your Gun’ and ‘Peace And Love’ continue the trend of unashamedly political lyrics; in the current climate, the charged lyrical content on DUMB BLOOD seems especially relevant. ‘Peace and Love’ is an upbeat, lively number in the main, only for the music to drop out in time for the observation that “peace and love have no meaning”. ‘Lampoon’ sees thinly veiled swipes at a generation where “everything is dumb”, reflected in the screaming of the chorus.
‘Parking Lot’ and ‘Do You Know Me?’ will be instantly recognisable to fans of the band. The former’s harrowing lyrical content (Mattie has said that it concerns sexual assault) unfolds over menacing, crashing instrumentation, while the latter reflects on the daily 9-to-5 grind with an energy that offsets the dull routine described in the lyrics.
‘I Don’t Believe In God’ and ‘Headed for the Sun’ are more brooding efforts than most, though still betray a punk spirit in their lyrics. ‘Fly-By Alien’, ‘Parasite’ and ‘Karma Seeker’ translate their explosive live sound onto record, building to impressive crescendos that sound tailor-made for the band’s multiple festival slots this summer. The album concludes with ‘Time and Money’, which incorporates acoustic guitar strums reminiscent of the Libertines with a fairly laid-back tone until the last minute and a half, where a soaring guitar solo kicks in.
All things considered, Dumb Blood hardly lets up over the course of thirteen tracks, the sound of the album feeling consistent but not overly uniform. It’s a strong debut, establishing VANT as a force to be reckoned with. Already, it seems that DUMB BLOOD will be one of the most promising, records of 2017.