Hailing from Australia, Vanlustbader are the latest band to try their luck alongside the likes of Jet. Their take on rock is not quite as straightforward as Jet’s though, instead they have taken aspects from bands such as Primal Scream, Oasis, and Kasabian (in fact Kasabian producer Jim Abiss worked on this record) and tried to make them their own.
It doesn’t quite work though. Opening track Communique (probably the best track here) displays some initial promise. It bristles with a vibrant energy and a snarling vocal line but eventually succeeds in little more than reminding how exciting Oasis were when they released Supersonic – which I suppose is something we need reminding of now and again.
From here on in there is very little that you haven’t heard done better by other bands already. Here We Go Again drops the ‘rawk’ facade and comes over all indie disco. It’s catchy enough but it lacks any kind of depth. It endlessly repeats itself, the familiarity of the chorus does cause you think ‘here we go again’, but not because you welcome its return as an opportunity to burst your lungs singing along.
Cuba takes all the bits you loved from Jesus and The Mary Chain‘s Psychocandy, washes them off, douses them in cheap perfume and ties a bow around them. It’s at this point the faint promise of Communique seems like an unforgivable lie. Next up is another Oasis-lite tune, Let’s Roll ‘Em, with a lyric pinched directly from Dylan’s Subterranean Homesick Blues, and a chorus ‘inspired’ by Stone Roses. It’s a perfectly average song, not particularly offensive, but hardly groundbreaking, or likely to create a craving for more.
This is, in essence the problem with this album: it is an entirely lifeless, boring collection of songs. Each one passes you by in a fug of non-committal riffs, Ian Brown vocals, and half realised ideas. The initial fun of spotting influences wears off really quickly, and turns to bewilderment at how a band with a lack of any kind of originality was allowed to have a record deal.
Things finally end with Rock N Roll Part III, a song that is utterly devoid of any trace of the basic elements of Rock, or indeed Roll. The refrain of ‘I love Rock and I love Roll’ does remind you that there are great records out there though. So slip the Vanlustbader CD from the deck, use it as a shiny beer mat, and stick on Raw Power to remind you just why you love Rock n Roll.
If this disc were presented in court in the case of The People Vs Vanlustbader; the people would win, and would be allowed to defile the band with a staggering array of root vegetables. I’m with the people, now pass me a marrow.