ALBUM REVIEW: VASA – Heroics
VASA are finally back with Heroics, the follow-up to their widely-acclaimed debut Colours and their first album in five years. But will it live up to the hype of their debut, which was widely regarded as seminal, and an instant classic in the post-rock genre, or crumble under the pressure?
VASA had their work cut out for them over the last five years. Their debut album Colours was an unprecedented success, gaining support and attention from massive names in the national press such as The Independent, Clash magazine and The Skinny.
Despite the lack of lyrics, we can tell immediately from the song titles that this band are tackling themes as interesting and nuanced as the aging process itself (Songs Adolescence and Adulthood are the album’s sonic counterparts in the two halves of the record – and perfectly encapsulates the chaotic and tentative step towards adulthood of the two states, respectively). This album is therefore contained within a concept, which provides constraints more than we could see on their debut – this at times is a blessing, at times a curse. Heroics lacks the sprawling serendipity of their debut in favour of a more calculated approach – it’s more mature and a natural progression, but at the same time, we have lost some of the spontaneity that Colours did so well.
Everything is Golden proves that, whilst this band has totally transformed the oft-morose post-rock genre into something uplifting and frequently just plain fun, they aren’t afraid to also stray into heavier territory. This song is equal parts beautiful and brutal, and is a sure standout of the album.
Victoria is another album highlight, which nicely balances the lighter and darker aspects of the band’s sound. The breakdown at the end is a fun touch, sounding on the verge of a loss of control whilst always remaining totally confident in the extremes to which the instruments lurch.
With Heroics, VASA have successfully managed to bring us all into their unique soundscape, by using something we all have in common – life itself.
The ending teases us, the album as a whole piece almost finishes unresolved, thus bringing into play the despairing notes of Adulthood and some of the other darker motifs in amongst these songs. However, after a moment, the piece resolves and we are left with a near-perfect record which manages to plumb the depths of the human experience, highs and lows alike, whilst remaining, at the end of it all, excitedly looking towards the future.
Stand Out Tracks: Everything is Golden, Victoria, Adulthood, Expectations
For Fans Of: And So I Watch You From Afar, Poly-Math, Bodyhound
Written by: Rosie Esther Solomon