The Hated Opinionated One

Van She Tries To Tickle Your V-Spot

Posted by Scotio on August 8, 2008

Van She is an Australian band that I’ve been eager to hear an LP from since last year when I came across their self-titled EP debut. Granted, it didn’t come out last year, but that’s when I heard it. And, it was such a great sunny album. It was fully of the right pop influences from the 80’s that blended things together wonderfully. I know, I talk about how great some recent bands are with their imitation of 80’s sound, but this was different. This didn’t “remind” me of something from the 80’s, this FELT like something that was teleported directly from the vault of lost 80’s should-have-been hits. So, with my chance to actually review this album, I began salivating with eagerness.

I’ll state this right off the bat: This album is so not what I was expecting from this band. From the very first song(“Memory Man”), you’re hit with the realization that this band not only grew since their 2005 release, but also had the concept to almost reinvent themselves. I am always a fan of growth . . . if done in a proper and constructive way, of course. With that said, the band went from a sunny vacation spot anthemic band to a more Dance-Punk styled band that seem to add little pieces of Dream Pop to styles created by bands like LCD Soundsystem(Typically with the song “Strangers”), and even go so far as to throw in Shoegazing for the mix(Especially with the track “The Sea”). It just seems like they wanted more out of themselves than just synthesizer manipulations.

On the song “Talkin’,” they combine two things that you wouldn’t have expected, A digitalized Voice-Box & Radio Pop. Though you might think that you heard something like that before, just imagine someone like the iconic group Daft Punk teaming up with a more poppier David Lee Roth(California Girls style). Then, you could get a glimpse of how the song should sound. For a brief moment in the song(after the 2nd chorus), the beat turns completely digital and the vocals are uneffected. But, as I said, the moment is brief, so don’t think that you’ll start to hear what you heard on the EP. It’s over before it even starts.

Before you go and start having a little hissy fit over the change of style, you will find a revamped version of their song “Kelly” on this album. It sounds like the Older Brother of the original. The production is slightly tighter. The instrumentation has new little subtle additions to make it pop out to you more. It’s almost like they did a cover of their own track. The best way to compare it is like the changes that Mgmt. did to their song “Kids” between their Time To Pretend EP and their Oracular Spectacular LP. This track has always been their standout piece for me. It was the song that I based them on. That one track that just shone brighter amongst all the others.

Tracks like “So High”(which just screams to be used if there’s ever a Flashdance remake) and “Virgin Suicide” is where they add in the pieces of their original outting with the style that they’ve picked up for this piece. The latter sounds like it would make a wonderful B-side for “Kelly” or even a good follow-up single, and the former is a display of their synthesizer arsenal attack(Though not as completely electronic as on “Temps Mort”). Then, a track like “A Sharp Knife” or “Cat And The Eye” is similar to that, but shows more comfort with them being in their Van She skin. Both songs seem like they stand firmly between where they wanted to reach for and where they originally started at. Those types of songs on the album shows them at their best and most dynamic.

Is the album brilliant? No. Let’s just be honest here. But, is the album fun, catchy, and wonderful? Hell yes, it is. Should you go out and buy this album immediately? Not without listening to, at least, half of it first. Make sure it’s your type of fun. Make sure it’s not too catchy to where when you play it everyone will want a copy and piss you of when they walk around chanting the lyrics. And, last, make sure that you have enough wonderful moments going on to where the tunes will feel right at home for your personal soundtrack. Standouts are “Kelly,” “Strangers,” “The Sea,” and “A Sharp Knife.”




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