Some genres are so dominated by a single band that, like grass wilting under a mighty tree, all other bands and variations fly under your radar. For example, it takes some people years to realise that Opeth aren’t the end all and be all of progressive/melodic death metal. Such is the way with the niche genre we might dub “energetic post-rock”. There, one name reigns supreme in the eyes of the music media: And So I Watch You From Afar is a name we all know and revere.
But, and this has been our sin as well, the genre itself is prolific as any other and hosts many variations on the staple ASIWYFA sound. We’re very proud to do some much delayed justice today and introduce you to VASA. Beyond the cliches of the sub-genre, VASA infuse their already upbeat sound with plenty of experimination, drawing on the experimental influences of bands like Adebisi Shank. This makes Colours not only a highly energetic effort but also a highly intelligent one, infusing the whole things with a bounce, pull and thrust that is hard to resist.
From the get-go, Colours wastes no time in letting us know what it’s all about: proper opening track, right after a short intro, is all about its name: “As Long As It Doesn’t Explode” is a perfect moniker, since this is as close as VASA are going to take us into the heights of passion. The track dizzies us with overdrive, breakneck riffs and most of all a perfectly bass/drum section, the “do or die” segment of this style.
Upon first listening, one might think he has this album figured out: this isn’t going to slow down much and when it does, it will only be to set up an even more furious segment. However, it quickly becomes clear that this is a dire mistake. The next track, “Fat Ronaldo”, has been floating around as a single for sometime now and with good cause: it has some of the tastiest hooks you’ll ever hear on an album like this. The bass departs from the drums for a bit and joins the guitar for a groovy riff that will likely break your neck if you aren’t careful.
Rounding off “Ronaldo” is one of album’s strongest points and that is its “quiet” segments. Instead of feeling like only another buildup for future noise, these segments have their own existence. In fact, this is the number reference point to those math rock luminaries, Adebisi Shank. In these contained, demarcated and extraordinary segments lives the same unstoppable energy, the same feeling that something is going to explode but it’s going to take its own damn time doing so.
The rest of the album is a caper ride along these lines. The feeling that most describes it would be “self possession”: VASA are very well aware of their plan for us and they’re not going to skip even one better. You’ll find the over the top, optimistic riffs that you expected based on the band I opened this review with but you’ll also find much more, perhaps refreshingly so. This album is for those of us who have grown tired of knowing where the punches are going to come from in this genre, for any of us that heard yet another tremolo-picked interlude and knew exactly how the bridge would sound like. Colours is all about keeping you guessing, smiling and shaking your head. Get to it.
Vasa’s Colours gets…