On the way to a Pelican gig the other night we spent at least an hour discussing the Bogan social sub-set. Having not heard the term before I needed clarification about exactly what constituted a Bogan.
After an hour, it was clear that there were so many rules and specifics that as an all encompassing term, Bogan seemed to be a rather pointless concept seeing as it described almost no one at all.
Post-Hardcore is a similar kind of adjective. If it means anything to you, then you’ve got a head start, because apparently Vanna are Post-Hardcore. What you really need to know about Vanna is that they are thoroughly brutal.
Whether or not they adhere to any kind of genre specific rules is not really the issue here. If brutal music appeals to you then you really should look no further. If, on the other hand, it’s originality you’re looking for, then you could well be advised to look elsewhere.
There is nothing here that you wouldn’t find on albums by bands like Converge or Norma Jean (a direct influence on Vanna apparently). Huge riffs rumble and chug like relentless panzer divisions from the opening bar of the album to the last. Slipping in and out of these riffs like a particularly angry wasp with a tin ear are lightening quick discordant solos.
Chris Preece meanwhile, bellows like a man who has had far too much to drink and finds that he can communicate with God via a giant porcelain telephone. Complimenting his guttural outpourings is the clean vocals of other half of the Good Cop/Bad Cop routine. On the almost poppy This Map is Old News the twin vocal style works rather well, but for the most part the format just seems a little jaded and uncomfortable.
The clean vocals take Vanna in a direction that doesn’t quite work for them. They’re at their best when they’re in full flight, screaming collectively like Q The Winged Serpent armed to the teeth with heavy artillery. When they become all melodic, it’s a travesty.
Curses is not a bad album then, as a lesson in brutality it serves its purpose perfectly. It does however expose Vanna as a band that are in danger of proving the concept of genere specifics seeing as they sound entirely generic when they should instead be trying to push music into new directions.