After having recently packed-out London’s Indigo 2 and Clapham Grand, Van Susans are set to release their debut EP We Could Be Scenery this summer. Describing themselves as “Poet meets Drummer Boy meets Guitar Hero meets Piano Man”, the six-piece pack in all the PopCore sensibilities of The Feeling (but less limp-writsted) whilst harboring thoroughly thoughtful lyrical understanding, which shines through as genuine soul and imagination. It’s music that the readers of Gratzia Magazine will adore, as well as lovers of Radiohead (I’m generalising massively).
The EP itself recounts the rise and fall (…or further rise, depending which way you look at it…) of adolescence and coming of age. It encompass the sudden feeling that dreams could very well not be fulfilled, and that you (yes, YOU!) could be ‘left behind’. Lead track Cha Cha Bang opens with…well…a bang! Immediately radio-friendly and wholly enjoyable, you can’t help but be sucked in by the optimistic chords and excitable vocals. The naive lyrics (“She might be the one/But this girl is crazy/…A match made in heaven…/we’re much too cool admit that we’re a match“) compare gloriously to the final song, Glow, when everything has gone balls-up and boy/girl have split-up. It’s wonderfully refreshing to see both sides of the relationship coin in one EP, as well as the fact that the protagonists are neither deliriously in love nor horribly heart-broken (and I’m secretly over the moon that the loved-up couple never stuck together mwahahaha). The five tracks of the EP all sync together perfectly – they’ve not just been jackhammered into place, and the EP is clearly designed to be listened to in one go. Bones is perhaps the darkest on the release, with references made to the realisation that we are not invincible (physically as well as mentally) and that everyone grows old – a revelation that’s usually fully made in adolescence (“You should go for everything you can/Soon enough you’ll end up an old man…You thought you were carved out of stone/Turns out all it was was bone“).
We Could Be Scenery is an EP that’s assiduously solid throughout, with two excellent tracks in the form of Cha Cha Bang and Bones. It does get a little repetitive towards the end (a few extra ‘hooks’ wouldn’t have gone amiss, rather than the constantly familiar soundscape that’s used throughout), but on the whole Van Susans are definitely well worth a listen (and I’d love to see them live). In a world of Fleet Foxes and Mumford & Sons, the emerging music scene has become a tad pale and beige as young pretenders attempt to mimic their superiors (often failing) – thankfully Van Susans attempt to splash a primary colour into the whole affair.