From first seeing the London-based quartet VANT play the small Springtide Festival in 2015, to then take control of the Lock Up stage at Reading Festival the same year, and to now be ready to embark on their biggest UK tour date is pretty mad. In fact, the very least that can be said is that the rate at which VANT have exploded is phenomenal. 2017 sees a big year for the band, with the release of debut album Dumb Blood being its nexus. Speaking to the disconnected political population in the UK, Dumb Blood does not shy away from heavy issues like war, inequality, racism, and religion.
Launching straight in, full throttle, ‘The Answer’ fully knocks you for six as it builds up, with lead singer Mattie Vant’s scathing vocals branding VANT as nothing but political, with shouts of “chemical conflict” and the inefficient government … how very apt. Tacking on to the political theme, ‘Peace and Love’ is a power ballad addressing conflict on a global scale, as “We need peace and love” takes centre-stage in the chorus. Criticisms of society are also found in ‘Lampoon’, wherein lyrically, VANT address the mobocracy of social media, and in the almighty b-side, ‘Do You Know Me?’ speak out about the anonymity and mundanity in the working day.
More quintessential VANT rings through in ‘Parking Lot’ and ‘Put Down Your Gun’, with grunge-laced chord progressions and scepticism at the forefront. Also, ‘Fly-by Alien’ revives the more punk-y roots of the quartet, and takes a pop at society’s conformity, with Mattie Vant scowling that “You are a cog in a machine” before a climactic and soaring finale. Slotted in amongst the politically driven aggression on tracks like ‘Parasite’ and ‘Karma Seeker’, is the breath of fresh air found in the introspective and atheist slower ballad ‘I Don’t Believe In God’, before the euphoric and tender ‘Headed For The Sun’ (perhaps the standout track on the LP) marks a switch in the album’s tone.
As the album reaches its close, ‘Are We Free?’ breaks down the doors on the non-stop nature of the LP, offering up a 7 minute experimental, well, as experimental as far as VANT’s usual hot and heavy style is concerned … Rounding off Dumb Blood, ‘Time and Money’ gives one last dose of the whirlwind this promising band have faced in the past 2 years.
It’s incredibly refreshing to hear a band so brutally honest in their lyrics, and then be able to match that criticism with equally as acerbic musicianship; amongst the array of middle-of-the-road indie acts occupying the airwaves, VANT act as the unafraid anomaly.
Dumb Blood will be released on the 17th February 2017, pre-order your copy here!
Words by Jasmin Robinson