Homesick Machinery

Written by: TL on 16/10/2009 14:29:00

A couple of weeks ago, I saw a more or less unknown Danish band called VOLA perform live, and if anyone besides me saw the band for the first time that evening, I'm certain that they too knew for sure, that VOLA was a band they needed to hear more from. Perhaps they too picked up one of the free copies of the band's first real EP, "Homesick Machinery" and brought it home to enjoy, and perhaps they too, now feel the need to do what they can to promote VOLA to anyone who cares to listen.

The quintet builds their sound on a incredibly atmospheric, mellow, ambient soundscape rich with electronic effects, and pulls the listener down the rabbits hole with almost post-rock-ish moods, before spicing things up with battering riffs that make the ground quiver. What does that remind you off? Really, the reason I'm asking is because I have a hard time drawing justified parallels to any other band I know. The moods feel slightly similar to those of Taproot or even Amplifier, but VOLA are much more restrained in their use of the guitars, and rely much more on quiet/loud dynamics than on a more driving and rocking style. Considering the proficient vocal interplay between frontman Asger Mygind and guitarist Niels Dreijer, and the generally epic momentum of the music, an emo kid like me might be tempted to think of Fightstar, but just take one listen and you'll know that's not at all accurate either. I guess VOLA are just pretty damn special?

Regardless, let's talk about the tracks. There are four of them on this release, and the first one "Like The Rainbow", starts out at the band's mellowest, Mygind singing subtly with his deep voice on top of haunting keys reminiscent of Veto, before the drums intensify things and the song rises to a sparkling chorus. That's already pretty sweet to listen to, but it gets better, because the two singers pull the listener through a bridge section and into an explosive first demonstration of the band's heavier tendencies, and when those distorted riffs come crashing in, it becomes obvious that trying to resist this song utterly futile. The following track "The Avalanche" is way different however, starting out with a no-nonsense hardrock/post-grunge riff that brings bands like Pearl Jam or the Danish equivalent Dizzy Mizz Lizzy to mind - an expression that's maintained throughout the track. Though I'd actually hoped to hear more of VOLA's heavier side after that crunchy ending to the first song, this one doesn't really impress me quite as much though, maybe because it just feels a bit too straight forward after they dynamics of the prior?

Anyway, no matter, because the best is yet to come. "Giants" is the star of the pack, again starting with haunting electronic melody before inciting fist pumping in your living room with more of that tsunami-like riffing presented in the first song. It's only for a spell though, before the guitars turn into subdued clean melody while Mygind works another threatening verse, and when that thing skips into the chorus, you'll be compelled to reach your arms towards the sky, because that's where that chorus is going. Again though, the band keeps it brief, making you hang on the edge of your seat for another verse, longing for that surge to come around again, and when it does, it is of course like a shot of heroin to a desperate addict. It's nothing revolutionary, it's just getting the most out of proven tricks of songwriting, and as another bridge section leads into an outro that rocks unspeakably hard, you can't but marvel at the level of confidence and maturity on which this stuff operates.

VOLA then send us off with a typical acoustic farewell, as "Fragments" lets you hear that delicious sound of fingers sliding down the strings of the guitars, as they join with subtle key strokes and frail vocal harmonies. Again, always the emokid, I can't help but notice how much this reminds me of some of Emery's most tranquil moments, and if you've been reading my reviews, you know that there's basically no higher recommendation to be had from me. In fact, the only thing I can really complain about on this disc, is that it is too damn short. It's the kind of record that sweeps you up and leaves you before you even know what happened, and that's not cool, because we want more dammit. So VOLA, get cracking please, meanwhile I'll stir you up some hype:


Download: Giants, Like The Rainbow
For The Fans Of: Veto, Taproot, Fightstar
Listen: myspace.com/volaband

Release Date 2008

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