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Vulture Whale

Bamboo You

(Skybucket; US: 19 Jan 2010; UK: 19 Jan 2010)

Vulture Whale may be the best rock band you haven’t heard. Following two excellent self-titled records, Bamboo You is another solid installment from these Alabama rockers and shifts gears, if only slightly for the band. Frontman Wes McDonald and his crew have mastered the sort of rock music you might have heard on Matador in the mid-‘90s, but the band imbued it with its own southern shuffle. The band’s songs sweat last night’s whiskey to make way for tonight’s. That loose, boozy feel works its way through Bamboo You, but there’s something new here. “Greatest Night” rocks hard with driving riffs, as does EP standout “The Pipe”. However, these and other songs have a new, psychedelic feel borrowed from Brit-pop. “I’m So Sorry”, in particular, has the gray Monday-afternoon feel of, say, the Cure, which is both a logical step from Vulture Whale’s own rock sound and a move completely out of left field.


In fact, the whole EP has a distinctly British feel, right down to McDonald’s newfound-and-deliberate faux-British accent. Your ability to hang with that accent is going to determine how far you’ll follow the band here. Vulture Whale breaks character and delivers a brilliant bit of southern power-pop with “Amerikerr”, but the rest of the EP, ironic accent or not, is full of energetic rock songs that’ll stick in your head quickly and stay there. Yeah, Vulture Whale goofs around a bit, but while its having a good time, the band doesn’t forget to bring you into the party, too.

Rating:

Matthew Fiander is a music critic for PopMatters and Prefix Magazine. He also writes fiction and his work has appeared in The Yalobusha Review. He received his M.F.A. in Creative Writing from UNC-Greensboro and currently teaches writing and literature at High Point University in High Point, NC. You can follow him on Twitter at @mattfiander.


Media
Vulture Whale - Sugar
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8 Aug 2011
Vulture Whale is exactly as advertised -- their sound is huge, but it picks from the bones of dying rock tropes, gathers strength, and spins upward.
22 Apr 2009
When you've got a name as perfectly rock sounding as Vulture Whale, you're allowed to release a second self-titled album. Especially when the second Vulture Whale is so damn good.
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