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Bob Vylan – Humble As The Sun (Ghost Theatre)

Bob Vylan‘s ascension to the top spot of British punk is one that is well-documented, but on the London duo’s latest effort, they demonstrate a shift in mindset, transcending well above from where we last left off. Don’t get confused though, their war on the state still ensues, and there’s an underlying fury that they simply refuse to shake, but “Humble As The Sun” emanates a hopeful positivity like we’ve never seen before.

As the gentle chords of the album’s title track begins to flood the ears, we’re once again acquainted with Bobby Vylan’s rousing vocals, and as his declaration of “Watch me shine” is enveloped by Jerub‘s gleeful vocals, as a listener you can already sense just how much their outlook has developed since the chaotic “Presents The Price Of Life”.

The grooving electronic beats of “Reign” sees vocalist Bobby flexing strength from the top of the tower, lined with confidence-exuding lyrics (“Too independent and I’ve got a god complex way bigger than Hercules“), while both “Get Yourself A Gun” and “Dream Big Kid” are more reminiscent of the sneering punk the duo have delivered previously. The former manages to deliver an anthemic chorus without deviating from the duo’s anti-establishment roots (“It’s cold out here, and the games being played aren’t fun, landlord just raised your rent, better go get yourself a gun“), while the latter is an inspirational track to the youth, brimming with energy and hope.

The damning “Hunger Games” is an emphasis on the dystopia-turned-reality situation the country has found itself in, a track that provides the strips narrative of the cost of living crisis that has those who were already on the brink of poverty brought to their knees down to the cold, hard facts. Another one of the Vylan’s rally cries for those struggling.

Throughout the album, you can really get a greater understanding for the duo’s incredible width of sonic influences, from the snippet of Angela Bassett‘s voice made famous by Fatboy Slim on “Right Here”, to the 90s Grunge-sounding “Makes Me Violent“, a track that really helps to sum up the overall ethos of the album; that sometimes the best defiance you can offer is to thrive and shine unashamedly. “He’s A Man” is a dissection of the stereotypical male, delivered with all of the Vylan’s usual comical wit (“Sunday roast, choking down some gammon, all these rules, things he can’t say, yeah he doesn’t understand them. Misses the days he could count on Clarkson, May, and Hammond. Now it’s only mediocre gear he can get his hands on”).

The duo bring the crosshairs firmly on London’s Metropolitan Police on the raging “Ring The Alarm”, a track littered with the duo’s guitar laden punk and glimpses of UK garage, condemning the force as an incarnation of lucifer on earth. While concluding track “I’m Still Here” once again drives home the defiance the duo hold, the chorus screaming “I’m still here! They’ll never take me alive!“.

Bob Vylan’s latest effort is quite possibly their best yet, a materialisation of the defiant nature of those who find themselves struggling under the weight of oppression that has been placed upon them by the infrastructures in place that we see day in and day out in this country. But what this album does so differently in comparison to the duo’s previous two releases is that embodiment of an unshakeable positive energy, and a manifestation for something better.


God is in the TV is an online music and culture fanzine founded in Cardiff by the editor Bill Cummings in 2003. GIITTV Bill has developed the site with the aid of a team of sub-editors and writers from across Britain, covering a wide range of music from unsigned and independent artists to major releases.