Vukovi, the album from the Scottish band of the same name, wastes no time bursting in. Throughout the album, you’re met with moments that kick, snarl, and just plain rock. It’s an album that wears gothic makeup while throwing neon paint on you.
A nice chunk of Vukovi is dedicated to finding your inner-strength in order to be your true you. Finding the sonic power to soldier forward isn’t a difficulty Vukovi faces. Janine Shilstone’s never has to reach too far to find the energy to pull you out of your complacency. When they need to, they carry you through the battle. When you need it, they pull you through to keep you fighting.
There are definitely moments of darkness within though. The band admits there are topics relating to drug abuse, depression, and suicide. However, overcoming might be the key that holds it all together in the end.
A firestorm of steamrolling bass and drums armed with storming guitars kicks the album off with “La Di Da.” Shilstone’s voice is sneering as it’s saying to the song’s antagonist to “You think I’m the one with the problem?” On a track that portrays emotional abuse, vocal and musical theatrics make sure the hero wins in the end.
Hurtling towards you with recless abandon, “And He Lost His Mind” wishes you good luck getting out of the way of a force looking to make noise. Of course, we know about “Weirdo.” So that leads to “Target Practice,” which sees a nice mosh pit turn into a dancehall influenced track. Vukovi refuse to falter or give in. Flatly pointing out they aren’t going anywhere, and given how there’s a need for this type of music right now, they couldn’t be more right.
“Prey” goes on to find Shilstone confronting a relationship that seemed great, but one she actually came out of for the worse. It deals with how we’re all a little monstrous in the way we approach lust and desire, but some are much more so than others. The person being addressed here is the worst of these creatures, but it still seems destined on conquering and breaking, even if it just starts with the powerhouse music that occurs.
One of the most personal tracks on the album is “Wander,” which is a gift to her brother who had a friend he lost to suicide a couple of years ago. Wander = Andrew, the name of the friend, and it’s a touching tribute that shimmers and has streetlights that explode, even if it does hold the heartbreaking weight of the what-ifs.
You’ll notice that many times the tonal aura of the second half of the album is more contemplative, slightly darker. “I’m Wired” tries to handle depression while being in a relationship. The guitars take charge, but the drum creeps in for a post-punk, power-pop stand-off. And you’ll still hear some hints of early My Chemical Romance while also noticing metaphorical fists being clinched.
A track like “Boy George” is snarling. It hits the lights, and something foreboding begins in a room lit only by black lights. “He Wants Me Not” approaches wishy-washiness in a relationship with chest-pounding rhythms while the chorus provides a full release. So when album closer “Colour Me In” provides a much-needed calm to the volatility, it’s more than welcomed. It freezes itself in a moment of togetherness that observes the larger moments from afar. For now, there’s a calm.