Welcome to The List, The Edge‘s annual look at the best new musical talent for the year ahead. Check back daily over the next fortnight as we announce this year’s lineup in full, and revisit our picks from years past.
VANT, an indie rock quartet hailing from London, may have only formed in 2014, yet the run towards full-length debut DUMB BLOOD – which will feature up to 22 tracks in deluxe form upon its Parlophone release on February 17th – has, like their sound, been far from sluggish. Festival billings collected include Reading & Leeds, Secret Garden Party, and Glastonbury; incessant touring has included supporting slots alongside Blossoms, Biffy Clyro, Catfish And The Bottlemen, and You Me At Six; five separate singles (‘THE ANSWER,’ ‘PARKING LOT,’ ‘FLY-BY ALIEN,’ ‘KARMA SEEKER,’ ‘PEACE & LOVE‘) have premiered as Hottest Record In The World on Annie Mac’s BBC Radio 1 show.
Through a conglomerate sound that can only be described as a blend of The Ramones, Rise Against, and Razorlight, VANT takes inspiration from the sometimes gruelling, always thickly ripe state of affairs in the world that surrounds them. Lyrically, they thrive off political, environmental, and societal issues – frontman and chief songsmith Mattie Vant cites his motivation as global and worldwide conflicts. In solidarity and philosophical continuity, they refer to their origin quite generally, rather than citing the capital and a small County Durham town. “I don’t believe in borders, I was born on Planet Earth,” said Vant to The Indiependent in 2015.
Songs like ‘BIRTH CERTIFICATE‘ (“Patriotism is a fucking lie / I’ll be branded British ’til the day I die / I got this label through invasion / So maybe one day soon we’ll be Korean”) and ‘FLY-BY ALIEN’ (“That world’s got a few problems / Got a dying sun / It’s a tick tock time bomb”) exhibit this delightful philosophy. Expertly blending melody and aggression, each is made with an astute ear and impressive eye for hope hidden in anger. “There is just something about VANT’s mix of hard guitar riffs and edgy vocals that can do no wrong,” said our review of October’s ‘PEACE & LOVE,’ which took its desperate nostalgic pleas (“We need peace and love / We need mother nature / For the same reason”) from the aftermath of the terror attacks in Paris that closed 2015. The strength in these angles ensures that VANT’s breakthrough is coming at a time that will cement them distinctly apart from traditional indie buzz. Allied with similarly politically conscious outfits like Rise Against and Anti-Flag at the frontline of those with a desire for tangible change, this is a band that could very well save a generation.