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Album Review: Vulture Culture by Fangclub

Irish rock act Fangclub release their second album Vulture Culture on 5th July via Vertigo Records. Recorded during an isolated, month-long stint at Giant Wafer Studios in Wales with producer duo Alex Loring & Tom Andrews, that tested and toyed with the band. “We always work best in isolation,” says drummer Dara Coleman. “I jokingly went into it saying, ‘I’m willing to lose my mind for this album’. Around day twenty, things started getting weird – I started getting paranoid that everyone in the house hated me.”

“There was a real atmosphere of obsession from everybody,” adds Vocalist/Guitarist Steven King. “It’s the craziest thing I’ve ever done. The theme of the album became violent, there’s a lot of violence in the tone of it, towards yourself and other things.”

While the album may have had hints of the dreaded difficult second album, the result is a commanding and stirring alt rock album that highlights just how good Fangclub are. As vocals were left to the last minute there’s a raw and visceral edge, as King says, “It comes off as a heavier record because I didn’t have time to hide the real stories. It really captured something. The pressure added to it, like ‘that line’s pretty revealing but I have to put it down, I don’t have anything else’. We could’ve gone in and made another debut, this punk thing with loads of hooks, or I could back myself into a corner. It’s a strangely revealing and personal album but I don’t feel afraid to share it because it’s almost as if I’ve expelled the things.”

Slow-burning opener ‘Last Time’ (which is made up of extracts from a confessional note that Steven wrote his girlfriend, which he sang to her in a lamplit studio) gets things off to a slightly auspicious start, then the groove of title track ‘Vulture Culture’ kicks in and you know they’re onto a winner. From the first stomps of the track’s groove you’re hooked and the album goes from strength to strength.

There’s a similarities to the grunge pop of Dinosaur Pile-Up on ‘Nightmare’ and it’s every bit as infectious, the acoustic aggression of ‘Viva Violent’ simmers and then there’s the majestic alt rock swoon of ‘Every Day’ that doesn’t sound a mile off Feeder at their best. Lead single ‘Hesitations’ showcases the strength and energy of the band, if you make this your first introduction to the album, you’ll know what to expect. There’s more pop grunge in ‘King Dumb’ before the fizzing alt rock of ‘Heavy Handed’ and the moody groove of ‘All I Have’ confront the mental health & substance problems that have tormented King and close loved ones. ‘Black Rainbow’ grows into being one of the best tracks on the album before closer ‘Slow’ encapsulates the feel of Fangclub in 5 minutes of near perfection.

It’s time for Fangclub to fly, this will be the making of the band.

AD Rating 8/10

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