Saturday, February 14, 2009

Review: Vulture Whale - Vulture Whale (* * * *)

Vulture Whale are an Alabama-based rock quartet who recently released their sophomore (and second self-titled) album. The band have gained some well-deserved praise from a small selection of online mags and blogs, but have somehow managed to fly well under the radar so far, which is unfortunate for those of you not yet exposed. Their new record should do something to change that; with a southern-tinged rock sound that brings to mind a host of classic influences combined with plenty of punk swagger, the whole project feels messy, effortless, and fun.

Vulture Whale is, for the most part, delightfully simple. Some bands seek to expand a genre or create a new one, but these guys know their limits and choose to work within their strengths. With little exploration or invention, the band focus on creating solid rock 'n' roll music with plenty of hooks and a unique touch that makes the record much more than just a rehash of their influences. Right from the beginning of the opening track, "Teedy," the driving guitars and singer Wes McDonald's earnest yelp sound both familiar and fresh, an ode to classic rock by a band less interested in imitation than channeling the sound into their own style.

First single, "Sugar," is an immediate highlight, all attitude and fiery riffs in an impossibly catchy four minutes. "Tote It To Cleveland, AL" and "That's Cold" contain similar amounts of sexy, funky swagger in which McDonald confidently howls his way through twangy narratives backed by spot-on grooves from his bandmates. There's a little variation here, like the blistering southern punk tune "Guillotine," and the slower, more melancholy "What Do," but the band cruise most of the way through the record in the same energetic, yet slightly restrained, gear. Vulture Whale contains no filler, and only a few tracks that dip below the group's own high standard.

Vulture Whale have made another great rock album for 2009, a genre that is already stacking up to have a fantastic year. Check these guys out on MySpace to hear a few of their tunes, or look up my previous post for a free download of "Sugar."


essays uk said...

wonderful album. love it from first to last song. All of them are great, the real hits