Van She
V


3.5
great

Review

by David James Young USER (181 Reviews)
August 11th, 2008 | 22 replies | 19,990 views


Release Date: 2008 | Tracklist

Review Summary: The trendiest band in the country finally match their style with some substance.

1 of 1 thought this review was well written

If you’ve ever seen a picture of Australian band Van She, you’ll appreciate the difficulty of actually taking them seriously. Decked out in the kind of clothes even Rick Astley would have cringed at in his heyday, they pushed this even further on their debut EP, a ghastly tribute to Countdown glory days where the only thing cheesier than the synth lines were the lyrics themselves.
Three years after that, however, it’s an almost entirely different story. They are still undeniably fashion victims, yet the music has taken a significantly sharp turn in the right direction. V is energetic, ambitious and versatile; a snapshot of, and subsequent soundtrack to, Australian city nightlife. You will certainly enter the record doubtful, but the band makes every effort to keep you entertained throughout the 45 minutes you spend with them.

It is hard to pin down Van She to a certain sound on V. Some elements to each of the songs are consistent throughout. Vocalist Nick Routledge’s breezy pop harmonies immediately come to mind; so too does the confident, distinctive backbeat, provided by drummer Tomek Archer. The musical environments that said elements are surrounded by, however, vary significantly throughout. The layered, dynamic build-ups of lead single “Cat and the Eye” and closing number “A Sharp Knife” find the band at their catchiest, with assertive big hooks and a near-perfect mix of both natural and synthesized sounds.
V juxtaposes this with straightforward rollicking grooves, such as the spaced-out funk of “It Could Be the Same” and the buzzing alternative rock of album highlight “The Sea”, packed with an impressive drum beat and distorted electro guitar. “Virgin Suicide” provides further contrast from its peers on the record by stripping the sound back to lush acoustic guitar and a dreamy shoegaze backdrop- in turn proving to be one of the stronger cuts from the album.
Even when the band’s past comes to haunt them in the form of their first-ever single “Kelly” from back in 2005, the band flesh out the song in a very stylish re-recording that is just as retro-sounding as before, yet does not sound as forced and artificial as it once did. It’s certainly miles away from the song that Phil Jamieson of Grinspoon once described as “the one song I never want to hear again”.

Perhaps it is not the variety of sounds that are found on V that are its best asset, but how well Van She pull it all off. Given, the songs are at times a little too refined and tightly structured, occasionally restricting the band from going the distance. However, when the band present you with a potential hit (“Cat and the Eye”, “Strangers” and “Changes”), the charm and appeal of them is practically irresistible. Despite a few average tracks along the way (the irritating filler of “Temps Mort” and the lagging Tears for Fears tribute “Sunbeams”), some below average lyricism (Both apple and orange juice are mentioned somewhere in “Changes”) and the keyboards occasionally going into overkill (granted they’re a synth-pop band, but it wouldn’t kill them to have the guitar up a little louder), the band don’t drop the ball once here.

There appears to be new-found purpose to what Van She are doing. With a handful of high-octane numbers that could well garner a new legion of fans, Van She are out to impress and prove all of their past critics wrong. Many bands are afraid to make the next step into trying new things and fulfilling their potential as musicians and songwriters. V, however, is the sound of a band that is willing to take that step.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
Jim
August 11th 2008



5110 Comments


never heard of these guys. doesn't sound like my cup of tea tbh.

then again, anything phil jamieson says i pretty much disagree with, so who knows
i'll check the myspace.

EDIT: good review btw :thumb:This Message Edited On 08.11.08

AtavanHalen
August 11th 2008



17927 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Thanks! The whole record's up on their MySpace, and it's available in stores now as well, so have a listen.
I recommend Cat and the Eye, Strangers and The Sea especially.This Message Edited On 08.11.08

Jim
August 11th 2008



5110 Comments


listening to cat and the eye currently. really nice laid back groove goin on

billy33
August 11th 2008



216 Comments


nice review,
van she aren't really for me though.

hammet_ownz
August 11th 2008



42 Comments


Not my kinda thing... But they are pretty cool at what they do. Spose they'll be riding the Cut Copy/TV Rock sorta scene.

StreetlightRock
Emeritus
August 11th 2008



3752 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Nice review, all my indie friends adore Van She, I've probably seen them about 2-3 times live now, solid act, people've been waiting for this album for so long now, nice to see it out.

Digging: The Pains of Being Pure at Heart - Days Of Abandon

jrowa001
August 11th 2008



8749 Comments


i saw this on a blog just recently. i passed it up pretty quickly. maybe ill go to their myspace and listen

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
August 11th 2008



20800 Comments


Good review Brick. Like the others, this band is not my cup of tea though. I like the album cover though. I can see that being your avatar soon!

AtavanHalen
August 11th 2008



17927 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I think I'll stick with Tina Fey for now, but who knows?

StreetlightRock
Emeritus
August 12th 2008



3752 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Actually, the more I listen to this, I really gotta say the production here is really well done, at least compared to the EP were some moments were a bit awkward, but on here almost all the songs are just nicely mixed and put together, even if some songs, are as you say, a little tighly structured and don't leave 'room'.

AtavanHalen
August 19th 2008



17927 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

This is verging on a four for me, this record has some addictive songs.
Cheers for another feature, too!

RandyfromPennywise
August 25th 2008



752 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

These guys are like the Aussie version of New Young Pony Club. So much hype for so long, with so little substance to back it up. It seems to be the way with these Indie Dance/Electro bands - there is all this hype surrounding them after a couple of singles. Hopefully there is some of this much-needed substance in this album. Illegally downloading it now.

Their EP was sort of bland, with glimpses of promise.

billy33
August 25th 2008



216 Comments


all this electro pop is starting to shit me

StreetlightRock
Emeritus
August 25th 2008



3752 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

These guys are like the Aussie version of New Young Pony Club


Oh hey, havn't seen you in a while! but nah man, NYPC are bland as s'hite compared to these guys. This is substaintially better than the EP I reckon.

Jim
August 25th 2008



5110 Comments


[quote=billy33]all this electro pop is starting to **** me[/quote]oh now come on billy, the lead singer of sneaky sound system is very sekzy :naughty:
but yeah otherwise i sympathize

AtavanHalen
August 25th 2008



17927 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I say suck it up. You don't have to listen to it.

billy33
August 25th 2008



216 Comments


lol and i don't
just felt like expressing my opinion.
i liked the review though.

btw i hate sneaky sound system with a passion, no matter how 'sekzy' the singer may or may not be.

Jim
August 25th 2008



5110 Comments


oh she's very
veeeerrry y

porkchop182
August 25th 2008



151 Comments


The album cover has already turned me off this band. If I am dying of boredom I might check out a few songs.

AtavanHalen
August 25th 2008



17927 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Don't worry, Billy, I hate Sneaky Sound System too. This band are nothing like them.
porkchop- don't let the album cover fool you, man.



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