Despite the album's poor structure and annoyingly forthright lyrics, VANT's debut has the fire, the energy, and plenty of the talent to start something BIG.
Since forming just three years ago, the rise of British-born rockers VANT has been admirable, mounting the spotlight predominantly through securing various festival slots, acting as support for iconic acts like Biffy Clyro and and You Me At Six, and premiering five of their six singles to date as BBC Radio 1’s Hottest Record In The World – not to mention garnering a spot on The Edge‘s List of 2017. It seems that world domination is inevitably on its way for their condensed, overtly political discography, and DUMB BLOOD proves no exception. In fact, if such a thing were possible, it would be easy to label the 13-track collection as even more adherent to that socially thematic blueprint.
VANT is one of those bands that fits seamlessly into both the dense webs of punk and indie rock history, feeling much like a harmonious concoction of The Ramones, Rise Against, Razorlight, and a dab of The Sex Pistols, but with their heads pointed smack towards the future as they revel in their own individualistic sound. With a bassline as distinct and driving as that which kicks off DUMB BLOOD with ‘THE ANSWER,’ it’s hard to come to any other conclusion than that which makes itself so darned obvious in just the first thirty seconds. Save for ‘PARASITE,’ the track may be one of the most out there of the record, making it both an odd and perfect choice to open things up.
As Mattie Vant’s idiosyncratic voice cracks through, it brings to mind the similarly quintessential frontman voice of You Me At Six’s Josh Franceschi. Both are, without a doubt, incredibly different, however they provide the distinct driving force of the band’s sound which remains steadfast throughout the record. In terms of sound alone, DUMB BLOOD is very much The Mattie Vant Show, however commendation should be given to Billy Morris, the bassist, who is always warmly welcomed pops his head up every now and again to exhibit his certain panache for the bass, and always warmly welcomed.
Hiding certain warmth under every chord, despairing for the world of today whilst deliberately hopeful for a new one, ‘I DON’T BELIEVE IN GOD’ steals the show at the mid-point, lingering long after the final strum of the guitar as heart-wrenchingly likeable. Elsewhere, its singles make up many of the album’s other peaks: ‘PARKING LOT’ and ‘KARMA SEEKER’ are easily the record’s best-crafted, whilst ‘PEACE & LOVE‘ might just be its leading force. Coincidentally, all showcase VANT’s incredibly unique sound at a more pronounced level than many of the others DUMB BLOOD has to offer. For every great line (“Say something that can move me / Just say something at all / It’s so easy to be muted / But you chose to stand so tall” from ‘PEACE & LOVE’) there’s an incessant chant (“Fear, fear, fear, fear / Guns, guns, guns, guns” from ‘PUT DOWN YOUR GUN’) just as for every ambitious, inspiring ‘PARASITE’ or ‘DO YOU KNOW ME?’ there’s a half-hearted, badly-placed ‘TIME & MONEY.’
The structure of DUMB BLOOD is poor, have no doubt, but luckily the boys have enough heart, enough fire, and more than enough talent to save a generation with it. Perhaps eloquence will follow in their evolution, in turn propelling them further into the rock stratosphere. According to their politically conscious lyrical vein, world domination for now might not be their cup of tea, but there is no doubt we’ll be more than happy to follow their lead into the revolution.
DUMB BLOOD is out now via Parlophone