The more literary minded among you will already have recognised the title of the EP as a line from the Philip Larkin poem ‘The Arundel Tomb’, although I’m sure you all knew that, this being a cultural website after all. Larkin famously adopted Hull as his spiritual home which is pretty much where the similarity with Vulgarians starts and ends. When the City of Culture status was bestowed upon the city I’m guessing those responsible didn’t have this psychotic bunch of social outcasts uppermost in their minds. I recently caught Vulgarians live supporting The Wytches and if their unique brand of deranged Northern psych wasn’t enough to catch my eye, then the sight of lead vocalist Ryan Wilson-Preen stalking the stage with his shirt tucked into his trousers certainly was! They do things a little different in that part of the world.
Almost-Instinct, Almost True may only contain three tracks lasting a combined 10 minutes 24 seconds but occasionally less is more and I’m not going to criticise anyone for not showing their full hand at such an early stage of their development. EP opener ‘Of Humdrum Consumption’ has Wilson-Preen impersonating Mark E Smith as a dirty great bassline takes you down the rabbit hole to a land last inhabited by Bauhaus. Larkin would have little clue as to what they were trying to communicate which is a blessing in my book.
‘Career Dietary’ could easily find its way onto a Best of Goth compilation circa 1986 whereas ‘Hands Around The Waste’ is sure to ignite a crowd surfing following on their upcoming tour. When Wilson-Preen aggressively advises “if there’s something you need/stay in your seat” then trust me, I’m staying well and truly velcroed to my seat and not moving until he bloody well says I can. If this is the future for Vulgarians then I’m all ready and waiting with my £2.50 postal order to join their fan club; I’ll even get myself a wig such was my need to shake some tousled locks in unison.
Production on all three tracks is by MJ of Hookworms fame and his thumbprint is obvious without ever dominating; there is enough going on already without him interfering too much. Vulgarians may end up being confined to the margins but my almost gut-instinct (see what I did there?) tells me they are one truly great track from blowing the doors off every venue they visit and by the end of the year those City of Culture guys will be eating humble pie. But please Ryan…don’t tuck your shirt in…
Almost-Instinct, Almost True is released on 5th May