Vukovi – Fall Better
Squirming out of genre confinements once more, Vukovi's second effort is another fun-filled journey through colourful chaos
Labelling Vukovi as a ‘pop-rock’ group seems like it’s dramatically underselling the band’s qualities. Such a genre labelling evokes an idea of generic soundscapes that are seemingly unoriginal and lacking ingenuity, a sort of ‘follow the rubric’ mentality, all of which the North Ayrshire band certainly are/do not. Colourful in both aesthetic and style, their 2017 debut album was a breath of fresh air that fused a hamper of meaty riff goodness, fierce attitude, and a sickly-sweet melodic quality into their own blend of chaotic, raging belters. And on their follow-up, they’ve levelled up.
‘The content you have selected contains strong language, dark themes, and some dirty fucking riffs’, the computerised voice on opener 17359 somewhat jokily warns, before daring to deliver on all three. Fall Better is a dish of many cut-in-fury ingredients, all served with the reappearing computerised framing narrative. Aura is a knockout blow of down-tuned chords and punchy choruses; Behave is a charged dance-rock number that jigs with synth-driven pulses, and closer Run/Hide is playfully pissed off and ripping with guitars and snarling melody.
Much of the album's dialogue details Shilstone’s recent struggles with OCD, having been diagnosed with the disorder in between records. ‘I’m twisted, manic, crazy’ is the beginning battle cry of All That Candy, a song that exonerates a visceral frustration at the singer’s own mental struggles. Yet, even outside of the lyricism, the musicality itself is warping and squirming in between hard-rock and electronic mayhem that symbolically takes the shape of Shilstone’s exiled demons. Shilstone's pain is sketched on every corner of this record, and there's no let-up from her powerful and fearsome vocals that are just dripping in character.
So no, this is not simply pop-rock. But whatever it is that Vukovi make, it’s pretty darn special.
Listen to: All That Candy, I'm Sorry, Run/Hide