Vita Bergen


Written by: TL on 30/03/2016 13:44:50

Sweden's Vita Bergen managed to somehow fly under the radar when they released their debut album "Disconnection", which this here is a delayed review to make up for. It merits writing simply because of the septet's promising style; a mixture of neo-folksy indie and synth rock which conjures immediate comparisons to early Arcade Fire records, not exclusively, yet in large part due to the vocal stylings of main men William Hellström and Robert Jallinder, who manage to approximate both Vin Butler's own style and Arcade Fire's general work with backing vocals rather remarkably.

"Disconnection" also shows a more post-punk side to the band, however, as songs like opener "In The City" and recent single "Replace" both channel tempos that will pique familiarity with fans of contemporary revivalists like Savages or The Minds Of 99. It's "Disconnection" and "Curtains" in particular, though, that will appeals greatly to fans of Arcade Fire's "Funeral" and "Neon Bible", or indeed to similar works by a band like The Maccabees. There's a blooming, anthemic vibe to them which instantly arouses the listener, made with compositional dynamics which make you excited for how where the songs are going to go.

The downside at this early point in Vita Bergen's career, however, is that often the movements they craft don't actually go very far. The songs routinely draw breath with a nice movement, only to circle progressively, yet somewhat repetitively, around that same movement, instead of building the more complex, complimenting constructions that you sort of expect from the way they begin. The way "Curtains" for instance builds up is superb, but you expect it to peak in a way it never does, which feels symptomatic for the impression you have when you turn your full attention to this album.

It seems worth wondering if some of the aimlessness perhaps comes from a reluctance to let either vocalist step up to as clearly cut leading refrains as Arcade Fire have in songs like "Rebellion" or "My Body Is A Cage" (although "Bookstore" does lean towards the latter), or as Maccabees have in "Love You Better" or "Can You Give It". A lot of the time it feels like they are more concerned with leading your attention to a particular keyboard signature, but then this could also just be a sign that the refrains on here show some room for growth.

Add the fact that "Schoolyard" is little more than an ambient interlude, and the eight total tracks of "Disconnection" ultimately makes it feel a little light on content for an album release, especially due to the songs' recurring feeling of missing that next level in their compositions. It's a little early then, to herald Vita Bergen as fully ready to pick up Arcade Fire's torch and carry it onwards in their own direction, yet the signs are still there in enjoyable moments so there's no reason not to get to know the band, if you wouldn't mind seeing a new name grow bigger in this stylistic neck of the woods.


Download: Curtains, Disconnection
For The Fans Of: Arcade Fire, The Maccabees, The Minds Of 99, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah

Release date 04.03.2016
Woah! Dad! / Glitterhouse Records

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