Review Summary: Sure its nothing mind-blowing or inventive, but there is an undeniable fun factor to the music here...
Bands like Vanna can be a bit of a chore to classify genre wise. The rather high pitched clean vocals point in somewhat of a post hardcore direction, while the guitar work and harsh vocals point more toward a metalcore (at points even deathcore with the inclusion of occasional guttural vocals) direction. Other labels such as "scene" as well as the incredibly misguided and often always misused "emo" have been used in an attempt to pigeonhole the sound. The reality is, Vanna plays metal/deathcore with a heavily
melodic slant to it, and there's really no reason to try and dig any deeper than that.
To me, this album is somewhat of an anomaly. When you look at every element of the album individually, it seems like the album would have to be terribly boring. The guitars rely heavily on chugging breakdown style riffs, the drums stick to the usual quick double bass patterns and semi-technical fills found among their contemporaries, and the vocalist would be more or less interchangeable with any other band in the genre. However, there's just something about this album that seems to set it apart from the rest of the pack. Perhaps the planets were aligned just right during the recording, but unlike most "heavy" albums released in the past few years, there's an undeniable fun factor here.
As far as the songs go, they tend to stick to the same basic structure for the duration of the album. Heavy intro riffs usually segue into more melodic verses and choruses, which are usually followed by a breakdown or a heavy bridge section. Sure its nothing new, but it works for the most part. There are even a few breakdown sections that are somewhat memorable, (see the "Dear God, call an ambulance" section at the end of Country Boys Goddamn). Other than the seemingly run of the mill songwriting and instrumentation, the biggest gripe for most would be the vocals. Whereas on the EP the harsh vocalist attempted to vary up his deliveries by throwing in some pseudo death growls, he sticks almost entirely to his high register screams here. The high screams could be a bit of a problem for some due to the fact that they can be a bit raspy and grating. The clean vocals have also taken a major backseat on this album, which will be a plus to most as they can sometimes be a bit on the nasal/whiny side.
Basically, if you're in the mood for something heavy, and a little on the catchy side, this album would more than likely scratch the itch. The only downside is the usual repetitiveness that is apparent in most metalcore albums, and the bass is rarely present in the mix (but what else is new"). Also, coming in at just shy of 40 minutes, the album seems to be just a little on the short side. However, if Vanna stuck to their guns and really improved their songwriting ability, they could potentially become a fairly well respected band, but at the moment, all they are capable of producing are fairly enjoyable songs that are ultimately forgettable.
Country Boys Goddamn
We Ate The Horse
The Vanishing Orchestra