Vital Idles – Left Hand

If you can give up a little time to connect Vital Idles' fascinating DIY structures, you'll find a treasure trove of ponderous lyricism and bare-bones stomp

Album Review by Lewis Wade | 29 May 2018
  • Vital Idles
Album title: Left Hand
Artist: Vital Idles
Label: Upset the Rhythm
Release date: 1 Jun

Left Hand, the debut offering from Glasgow's Vital Idles, delivers on all of the lean, scrappy promise of their previous demos and singles. It's a taut, propulsive exercise in minimalism that doesn't waste a moment, barrelling across a series of vignettes tackling issues like one's place in the world, social complacency and the nature of music itself.

Jessica Higgins' lyrics are frequently oblique ('The early days / When the milieu reeked of malaise') or wrapped in a tight, personal cocoon ('I don't really care but I could / I should, oh you would'), but the feelings they evoke are often more important than the actual words. There's no uniformity to the delivery; some lines are clipped, sometimes drawn out (Solid States) or just matter-of-factly stated (Like Life), but it all amounts to a fascinating snapshot of a band in motion, moving from idea to idea.

The fragmentary nature of the music is demonstrated in the imagery of the lyrics: things are folding, peeling, fraying, crashing, sweeping aside, knocking down; the album is constantly in the process of quick, abrasive movements. This is not meticulously planned music, but the ephemeral sounds of a group of musicians working out kinks on the fly, using what they can to make something real. If you can give up a little time to connect with these fascinating DIY structures, you'll find a treasure trove of ponderous lyricism and bare-bones stomp. Otherwise, as Higgins states on Solid States, they're 'just making noise...' Vital Idles seem to be just as happy with either.

Listen to: Carve a Bat, Cave Raised, Like Life

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