Archives for posts with tag: Vital Idles

not-unloved-1If you thought Courtney Barnett’s “Avant Gardener” was the best song to be written about gardens and gardening, it has now been surpassed by the B-side of a 7″ single by Glasgow’s Vital Idles called simply “The Garden”.

If you wanted to be picky you could say that this song is not strictly about gardening as such… “Would you feel uncomfortable if we did it in the garden, with your bum facing the clean air, and the wind in your hair?”

But it does mention in loving sensory detail the features of the garden and the work that has gone into creating this setting for this fantasized al fresco relationship.

“The Garden” is the B-side (or double A-side) of the Vital Idles 7″ single released on brand new Glasgow label Not Unloved Records.  The label is a natural extension of the long-running Not Unloved blog, so named after the title of a Pastels song from their “Truckload of Trouble” album.

There’s certainly a bit of the spirit of The Pastels about this song, but also perhaps a bit of Belle & Sebastian in the wry observational lyrics and delivery – though headed in a somewhat more deviant direction than your average early B & S song.

This is not much like the earlier Vital Idles releases I’ve heard, which were enthusiastically lo-fi cassette releases with “Demo” in the title. Lovely amateurish things but a bit rough around the edges and unfinished sounding, however radiating oodles of potential because of that enthusiasm, spirit and character.

This sounds perfectly finished. The production standards have increased and it’s a glorious thing to hear this band presented in a clear and unfussy way, their character in full bloom now.

As “The Garden” and it’s risque narrative unfolds in rich detail, the pace quickens, the intensity swells, the strings and brass rising and falling like that bum in the clean air, before the post-climax outro of soothing instrumentation. As beautiful as a well-tended garden.

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Vital Idles

“Shade the Shadows” from Glasgow’s unrefined Vital Idles is a refreshingly under-produced slice of poppy no-style post-punk with some of the angles and inflections associated with early Wire recordings.

“Shade the Shadows” leads off “DEMOS II” which, as the name suggests, is a collection of unvarnished guitar, bass, drums and vocals songs, recorded simply with realism and honesty.

It’s indie pop at the punk/DIY end of the indie spectrum. As well as the occasional echo of Wire, there’s a bit of the spirit of The Fall in their earliest form (refer “This Is Real?” here) and of course Glasgow’s The Pastels.

Some will find the songs on “DEMOS II” to be a bit amateurish I suppose. Rudimentary guitars and an untrained voice often play fast loose with the over-valued mainstream music concepts of being completely in tune with themselves, each other and the songs. The drums are also simple but keep the train on the tracks and on time, and the bassist gives it some musical propulsion with cheerful melodic runs.

But these attributes are exactly what gives Vital Idles and “DEMOS II” it’s character and appeal. Ideas are what counts, the execution of those ideas is a mere detail. This collection has the ideas. So much substance, but without the artifice of style.

Although… of course, no-style style is still style of sorts…