VASA are described as a post rock instrumental quartet. They’ve been around the Glasgow music scene for a few years now, growing a reputation as an exciting live act and Colours is their debut album. I’m not altogether sure about the whole post rock thing here though, as these guys seem to rock pretty hard.
The four member of the band – twin guitarists Blaine Thompson and Scott Coupar, John Niblock on bass and drummer Niall Morison MacRae – all bring plenty of power to the table. Their approach is based on a solid rhythm section that does far more than just provide backing and two guitarists who mix power chords and melodic fretwork to excellent effect.
VASA’s sound is largely fast paced and upbeat, although there are quieter and more studied sections in several of the album’s ten tracks. Smashletes sums up the approach in a dizzying opening burst of thunderous drumming and twin guitar pyrotechnics. The big riffs aren’t long in coming although they mix with more melodic guitar work to create an ever changing soundscape. Poseidon’s Kiss is similar in format, another with power and pace that really stands out.
There isn’t too much studio trickery in the music either. Some delay, a bit of distortion and the odd reverb heavy passage stand out, but at the core of these songs is pure musical talent. Now I can’t say I listen to a lot of instrumental music. So perhaps the biggest compliment I can pay VASA is to say that for long periods of the album I barely noticed that there were no lyrics. The ever changing sounds keep the listener hooked and the occasional slower phrases have enough to maintain the interest rather than simply acting as respite before the next aural assault.
Fat Ronaldo is a track that’s been around for a while and it’s another with many distinct parts to it. There are hooks and melodies aplenty as well as some great guitar runs with a pure electronic sound that comes close to a synth. The drumming throughout the track is fast and hard, as it is across pretty much every track.
Colours is a very good album, one that’s a little different from most mainstream rock. I don’t like to get into the pigeon hole discussions that too often surround music, so I’m not terribly interested whether this album is classed as post rock, math rock or some other sub genre. The key point here is that VASA are four talented musicians who have created an album of damned good rock music, and they deserve to have it heard.
Support Band: Black Sheep Records