The Vegan Leather – Poor Girls / Broken Boys

Paisley pop royalty unleash a splash of much-needed energy into Scotland's indie scene with their debut album, Poor Girls / Broken Boys

Album Review by Niamh Carey | 23 Oct 2019
  • The Vegan Leather – Poor Girls / Broken Boys
Album title: Poor Girls / Broken Boys
Artist: The Vegan Leather
Label: Midnight Pink / Believe Digital
Release date: 25 Oct

Fast-paced pop, imploring lyrics, delicious melodies: The Vegan Leather have been gathering speed in Scotland’s underground pop scene since 2014. This year, the Paisley quartet have refined their own brand of art-pop in debut album Poor Girls / Broken Boys, a record that shows promising growth for the band, yet manages to retain its dance-exhorting simplicity that first brought TVL to our attention.

The record is a delirious punch of disco punk-pop, never losing pace and always staying on message. With themes of social anxiety and female struggle at the heart of many songs – always accompanied by a pulsing tempo to match – the album marries music to subject matter seamlessly. The Hit does this particularly well: the driving beat accompanied by urgent, shouting vocals are a perfect match for the anxiety-ridden and violent imagery of the lyrics (‘Let the glass cut silence / Cut the glass control violence’). Yet the production is always playful and poppy, offering respite to the persistent basslines.

The band’s appreciation of its Scottish pop predecessors is clear on many tracks, and there's a distinct nod to the country’s rich indie heritage. Unorthodox, an album highlight, plays like a revamped Franz Ferdinand tune in its suspicious tone, smooth vocal production and infectious melodies. Or take Days Go By, an extremely danceable track reminiscent of Glaswegian synth-pop duo Strawberry Switchblade. Poor Girls / Broken Boys takes these influential sounds and reworks them into something that feels notably current and fresh, while also giving an appreciative nod to their forebears. 

Some may find the persistently upbeat melodies and allusions to noughties’ indie-pop a tad tiring; and it’s true that the familiarity of the sound, alongside the pop-rock-synth production, can become a little grating. Still, there is no doubt that The Vegan Leather are a driven and ambitious band with a mission to create instantly pleasurable music. With Poor Girls / Broken Boys, The Vegan Leather inject a splash of much-needed art-pop pleasure into the Scottish indie scene.

Listen to: The Hit, Days Go By, Heavy Handed