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VATICAN DC – Make It Ride (CD, Red Flag Recording Co)

Posted: May 16th, 2007, by Mandy Williams

On starting to review this album, the name kept putting me off. I imagined some awful metal band, but when I eventually did ‘put the needle to the record’ I was pleasantly surprised. Don’t get me wrong, it is indeed hard-edged. Their sound is sort of rock mixed with electronic indie. A bit of Hard-Fi here, a touch of The Klaxons there and elements of the Kaisers, but mostly Kasabian, Kasabian and more Kasabian.

Tom Meighan could be on vocals on Wow, while Sparks is a more stripped-down sound. The incredibly catchy single Fountainhead boasts heavy Doctor Who riffs and soprano intoning, like Justin Hawkins at the end of every sentence. Keep on Cutting is like a goth rendition of a Buzzcocks song. She Takes Me Out is pure old style punk. It could be 1977: choppy riffs and simple lyrics. It’s likely to be a favourite with kids who haven’t heard the original material.

In contrast, Bugs starts off like something from Arcade Fire’s ‘Funeral’ before expanding into its own sound. It is by far my favourite track from the album, eschewing the heavy punk sound for layered melodies. “Flushed down the sewers of love, bugs caught in nets with spiders,” their singer spits. It’s anthemic and incredibly addictive.

The weakest song is the title track. The trite refrain “I don’t wanna live a back-seat life, gonna get a horse and make it ride,” is repeated annoyingly through the entire song which ends in distorted feedback. However, it has that stadium sound that will ensure it is a big hit…

Information has a bass-driven intro, then turns all electro with ooh-ooh lilts. By Danger to Myself and The End is the Beginning, Vatican DC are beginning to sound sure of themselves.

Vatican DC are hard to pin down. Their sound changes from song to song like they are trying to hedge their bets. Some tracks are potentially great; if they ditch some of the album fillers and develop their own style a bit more they could be onto a winner. Having toured with Bloc Party, The Rakes and The Kaiser Chiefs though, they shouldn’t have any trouble in getting to that next level. By the time you read this they could already be there.

Vatican DC
Red Flag Recording Co

Mandy Williams


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