Album Review: Van Susans – We Could Be Scenery EP

By on Thursday, 9th June 2011 at 12:00 pm
 

Van Susans released an EP entitled ‘We Could Be Scenery’ in late May, and it’s taken me some time to finally put my pen to paper and review it. Primarily because the first time I listened to it, I had a rather extreme reaction to it (as you will read) and then wanted to put it down and come back to it later to see if I still felt the same way. And yes, I had the same reaction again. What do I think this album will make you do? Go out rounding up your mates to go down to your local for a pint, because you remember just how important they are to you. Has modern music made you cynical? This EP should change your mind.

When I reviewed their single ‘Bones’ at the start of 2011, I kind of had it in my mind based on that one song that they would fill the stadium piano rock void left as Coldplay soldier on with their post-‘Viva La Vida’ snooze and Keane‘s possibly ill-fated foray into r&b.

But cast any such possible misconceptions you may have from hearing only ‘Bones’ aside. ‘Bones’ is great, but so is the rest of this strong EP. Let’s start by examining ‘Cha Cha Bang’, the opening number. It’s got grinding guitars that (dare I say it) sound a bit Biffy Clyro? Thankfully, the vocal is like a stallion reined in at the gate, and it’s more “raise your pint” / “hug your mates and let’s sway in time” territory. ‘Get Up, Get Out’ is pensive, with singer Olly Andrews’ voice dripping with emotion. This song would have been fine with just his voice, but his bandmates add some great harmonies that make this song warmer. (Yeah, and where is that pint?)

Since the last time I wrote about Van Susans, they’ve added a violinist , Caroline Atkinson. Her contribution to the band shines in ‘Plans’, as it begins in a mournful way. But trust this band to turn any sad day into a brighter one. Oh god. I think I just about died when I heard it for the first time. I actually got chills. Check out the chorus: “I will wait for you / and you, you’ll wait for me / and one day we’ll get married on a hillside / so everyone can see”. I’ve just melted into a puddle on the floor. You can watch the video for ‘Plans’ below. Something else that’s just occurred to me, for anyone like me who misses the Tenth Doctor….singer Andrews looks awfully like David Tennant. (Even without the resemblance, I’m expecting this band to have a strong female following in short order.)

Then the EP reaches its end with ‘Glow’, taking the band back to the piano as the central instrument at first very gently (“she makes me feel like starlight” is one particular line I’m fond of), before working the whole thing from the ground up into a massive singalong, with perfect guitar chords framing everything. As I’ve written on TGTF before, I’ve never been a massive fan of Coldplay: for some reason, they never seemed to elicit the feelings and tears for me that I saw on my other friends’ faces. But I imagine what I feel when I listen to this EP is what Coldplay fans felt when they heard ‘Parachutes’ for the first time.

I’m definitely rooting for these guys. With a tear in my eye.

9.5/10

The ‘We Could Be Scenery’ EP by Van Susans is available now from Beatnik Geek Records.

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5 Responses

2:01 pm
9th June 2011

Excellent review – I definately had the same reaction the first time I heard the EP. We were fortunate enough to have Van Susans eat at Annie’s last week and even more fortunate to have them play an impromptu accoustic set including some of the new material they are writing for their album – and I can confidently state if the EP made you cry, the album is gonna kill you!

2:04 pm
9th June 2011

Annie – oh no! I can’t afford to be killed!

Can I settle for being slayed? (example: Morrissey slays me) x

1:06 pm
10th June 2011

LOL ok then!

11:40 am
16th July 2011

Van Susans Live are live at The 100 Club Friday 22nd July with a DJ set from XFM’s Steve Harris to celebrate their new EP ‘We Could Be Scenery’. Some tickets still available…

[…] particularly dark period in my life. Their manager David sent me an advance copy of their debut EP ‘We Could Be Scenery’ and like everything else I receive, I queued it up with a jaundiced eye and a cynical brow. From […]

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