Release Date: 16th October 2015
The debut album ‘Colours’ from Glasgow experimental instrumental band Vasa marks the culmination of the four piece’s weird and wonderful voyage through boundary-pushing moments and plenty of experimentation. Fans of bands such as And So I Watch You From Afar, Sigur Ros and Explosions in the Sky, should love this band’s unique and expansive sound. This really is a great introduction to the quartet for those that have not yet discovered them; their mix of influences and huge, sometimes brutal, sometimes beautiful notes should attract many to their cause.
We open with the fast paced ‘Smashletes’ as crashing cymbals, chaotic guitar notes, oscillating riffs, pounding drums, chugging guitars and shrieking chords make for a very heavy and instantly grabbing opener.
Which leads straight into the quick tempoed ‘As Long As It Doesn’t Explode’ whose hard hit drums and cymbal blasts ring around your ears. The guitars are relentless in their assault on your ears from the high pitched to quick, mini riffs and heavier notes thrown in too. As we reach the middle, things become more daunting as swirling, hollow chords add a sense of foreboding though regardless, melody stays prominent creating something both dramatic and well produced.
Their single ‘Fat Ronaldo’ is full of frantic sounds, clearly obvious melodies and a super fast tempo giving you no respite from the disorder and becoming a well put together piece of music. While ‘Not A Cop’ opens with building, oscillating guitar strums as a steady beat and splashing hi-hat join the fray. It is the calmest moment on this album so far and in a way it is a welcome relief giving you the opportunity to take in the music on offer. When it kicks in, the riffs have a hectic nature to them, sounding like an annoying computer game, becoming the main focal point while great rhythms are brought in around it.
Huge, crashing cymbals intensify as they bring us into ‘Punched’ while cosmic electronics weave and flow around hefty drum beats and that cymbal clatter creating a short, simple but very good mid-point. We are thrown straight into ‘The Angry Dome’ with its descending, high-pitched mini riffs, copious amounts of quick-tempoed drums and long, screeching riffs that echo around your ears. It’s another fast paced one packed full of metal influences and impressive guitar work.
Next up is one of the best tracks on the album, a track that really showcases Vasa’s strengths. Intricate, rapid guitar strums are littered all around the opening of the brilliant ‘Cynthia’ being layered perfectly over the top of a steady rhythm from drums, bass and cymbals. There’s a more relaxed atmosphere here. though there’s a wealth of emotion determined from the soft, flowing moments followed by bulky, frantic parts.
It’s another short interlude from ‘Unpunched’ whose shrieking chords and odd sounding notes give this a creepy, horror story carnival atmosphere which is only intensified as fuzzy sounds and a winding down of the music are added giving this quite a scary edge. Muffled riffs open ‘Ergonomic Keyboard’ keeping repetition time perfectly until other instruments are added from static drum beats to high pitched guitar chords and shimmering hi-hats. The use of build up in this one creates an atmosphere of tension and anticipation as you always feel like you are nearing something huge. Something like when the volume and heaviness is turned up massively with the arrival of hard hit drums, clattering cymbals and metal riffs that swirl and weave their way through the track wonderfully.
We finish with ‘Poseidon’s Kiss’ a slower, steadier and calmer track from the off with flowing guitar lines and padding drums making for a much more relaxed feel. Though that soon changes as the rock and metal influences found on previous tracks make themselves known in a big way. It is a good end to this debut but ultimately it is very similar to most of the other tracks that have come before it.
Though this is a great album musically, and the band clearly have a lot of talent and passion for their instruments, the album itself does become quite repetitive throughout as similar song structures and executions of big moments are used time and time again. Nevertheless, it is a decent listen.
Check out the single ‘Fat Ronaldo’ taken from the album below: