Album Reviews

Vincent Vincent And The Villains – Gospel Bombs

(EMI) UK release date: 10 March 2008

It feels like Vincent Vincent And The Villains have been knocking around for too long to be only now releasing their debut – and a further inspection of their biography proves they have indeed been going for years.

After forming way back in 2003 from the ashes of The Double Card Bastards and undergoing various line-up changes (co-founder Charlie Waller famously left to pursue a career with The Rumble Strips), they have finally put together Gospel Bombs, and in a music scene which puts pressure on artists to release just months after a MySpace hype, it’s quite novel to have actually had to wait for this.

The danger with holding off a new release, of course, is that fickle new band fans lose interest and move on to the next bunch of perfectly coiffured and trendified young upstarts. This being said, we would be foolish to ignore the latest incarnation of Vincent Vincent as their first record gleams with track upon track of snappy, ridiculously catchy, soulful guitar pop.

Beast makes for a dark and intoxicating first number, opening the floodgates for a plethora of scratchy rock ‘n’ roll songs complete with clicking fingers, handclaps, rumbling rhythms, screams, yelps and romantic, stripped down serenades.

The jaunty, doo wop attack of On My Own is a highlight as are the jittery Pretty Girl, the rich harmony-laden Blue Boy and Jealousy And Bitterness, Telephone’s dark, shouty fuzz pop, the clattering I’m Alive and Sweet Girlfriend’s beguiling melody. Perhaps most impressive though are offerings such as Cinema and End Of The Night which showcase frontman Vincent Vincent’s deep, velvety croon to full effect.

However, while each song fizzes with energy, capturing perfectly the mood of the dapper foursome’s notoriously spirited live shows, weaknesses lie in the fact that the production and instrumentation are pretty samey throughout, perhaps in homage to their obvious love of skiffle and rockabilly – two genres renowned for their staunch use of sounds and style.

VVATV aim to combine “the British rock’n’roll thump of Johnny Kidd and the Pirates with the poetic racket of Richard Hell and the Voidoids“, and while Gospel Bombs may not preach innovation, it is easily one of 2008’s most heart-felt records; for all its tics, flaws and unabashed retroism, each song on this short, sharp creation is really quite loveable. Let’s just hope we don’t have to wait another five years for the next one.

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Vincent Vincent And The Villains – Gospel Bombs