Album Artwork: Dan Stark
What do you get when Tears For Fears and FM-84 have a lovechild and raise that lovechild with the funky flare of Daft Punk? You get the collective talent of Jordan Miller, Joe Collins, Jack Wade and Dan Martin. Mix in a bunch of groovy riffs and powerhouse basslines and you have Sunderland’s very own Vandebilt!
These born and raised Mackem lads formed over a shared love of dance music, clambering up the ladder of success, and are now here to showcase their refreshing debut album: ‘The House that Vandebilt’.
Do you want to hear the reformation of synthwave’s retro roots? Well I’ve got what you need or rather I should say: ‘IGWYN’…
‘IGWYN’ is the introductory track to Vandebilt’s new album, and it immediately establishes that this band is immensely impassioned and creative. The warmth of the bright melody transports the listeners through time as I felt like I was at a summer rave in 1980, but then the pure vocals of Joe Collins emerged through Martins electric bassline, and I was impressed to see how the band’s ambitious artistry has illuminated their uniqueness.
The electronic dance genre can be plentiful with imitators and relatively lacking with innovators and that’s why I can appreciate Vandebilt’s dedication to making something fresh whilst attracting modern appeal. Setting a new paradigm for vocal-driven dance bops, I love that the band has an unapologetic candour to the lyrics that make it all the more impactful and different. ‘It’s what you are / Not what you’ve been’. On that note, what I have been is a head-bopper and a dad-dancing finger-pointer whilst listening to this tune because it’s so catchy, but alas we must delve into the other bangers in this album.
Credit: Dan Stark
‘Dream in Colour’ opens with that chunky texture of retro video games that I adore about synthwave hits, but rather than getting lost to the traditional patterns we have seen within the genre over the years, this track is enlivened with the snappy snares of Jack Wade’s drumbeats and a beautiful influence of French Tekfunk, resemblant of the works of DJ Falcon and Mitch Murder.
This track is full of fabulous feel-good beats and killer grooves, encapsulating the epitome of the summery vibe and euphoric live performances in the sunshine with their toe-bopping sound design and infectious reverb outro, leaving you wanting to bash that repeat button on Spotify.
Infused with the mentorship of DJ and producer Smoove from the ‘Northern Funk’ duo Smoove and Turrell, a year of touring with said duo across some of the most renowned venues in the UK (Band on the Wall, Manchester; Jazz Café, London, etc.) has really paid off. A combination of polished instrumental compositions and a professional dichotomy of smoothly-blended influences and confidently unique creativity, this upcoming Mackem band has another quality that makes them stand out against the rest: real heart. Their boundless dedication to this album has led them on writing journeys to France and recording sessions in Liverpool, to create the most authentic listening experience for their fans and to that, I take my hat off and put my headset back on for their next single in the album: ‘Baby’.
Credit: Dan Stark
‘Baby’ may just take the cake for my favourite song on the album. This song, for me, really celebrates Collins’ vocal talent amongst an up-tempo track with insane amounts of galvanising disco energy. He showcases some rock elements in the gritty style of his vocalisations in the harmonic chorus which differentiates this song from the others in a way a rock-lover like yours truly can sink their teeth into. I never would’ve guessed this ultra-blend of genres from everything between pop-rock and 90s disco synth would sound as good as does, but the boys have really knocked it out of the park with this one.
Kings of the earworm, I am incredibly excited to see what the boys do next, I can only see their success increasing over time. Now excuse me whilst I find out when and where their next gig is.
Till next time.
Listen to the album here
Article by Rebecca Todd