ALBUM REVIEW: Vukovi – NULA
Photo Credit: Nat Wood
Ever since the group’s inception more than a decade ago, Vukovi have proven time and time again that they’ve got the sheer will to power through and deliver their music to their fans. Having started drip-feeding us tracks back in 2020, the Scottish duo are back with their third release and their first shot at a concept record, in the form of NULA.
Offering us a tale of the eponymous extra-terrestrial 25 years after she was captured, NULA sees the band sonically hit new highs. Right from the grandiose opening of DEPARTURE into the heavy chugs and fast tempo found within TAINTED, it’s clear as crystal that the duo are firing on all cylinders. Hamish Reilly’s guitars are omnipresent throughout the 13-track collection, and whenever they kick in, they perfectly fit the songs and their respective tones and soundscapes, as can be witnessed on tracks such as the dark and broody SHADOW, HADES or LASSO, which also sees the introduction of the poppier elements often employed by Vukovi.
To be quite frank, it is these poppier elements which, coupled with the aforementioned riffage, help make the band’s sound that much more unique. The variety of synths and modulation effects firing throughout KILL IT, SLO, or I EXIST have become a staple of their formula by now, and we wouldn’t be disappointed at all if this continues to be the case for the (un)foreseeable future.
While on the topic of tracks such as I EXIST, there are a few moments where the conceptual narrative shines through more than usual, but they don’t take away from the overall enjoyment of the tracks and the album as a whole – quite the contrary! These songs see singer Janine Shiltstone flexing her songwriting muscles, while simultaneously tackling subjects such as abuse, sexual assault, or suicide in the case of the aforementioned track. Given the singer’s personal struggles and experiences, most of which have been morphed into songs by now, it is clear that these often-shunned or taboo subjects are handled with care, while simultaneously not mincing any words – as it should be done.
With NULA under their belt, Vukovi have once again displayed their talent in blending genres and soundscapes into one coherent style, all while expertly tackling some pretty heavy subjects and juggling a conceptual narrative on top of everything. This is their best record so far, and there’s no doubt about it.
Standout Tracks: Tainted, Lasso, Quench, Slo, I Exist, Shadow, Kill It
For Fans Of: Bring Me the Horizon, Spiritbox, Wargasm, Yonaka
Written by: Florin Petrut