It was only in November 2015 when The Van T’s dropped their debut EP, Laguna Babe, which was one of the best extended players of the year. The Glasgow quartet are already back with another mini-album; this time with the aptly titled A Coming of Age. While it is easy to just build on the last record, The Van T’s show a lot of growth between the two EPs. Their sophomore effort is more varied and dynamic, and the songwriting is stronger and more mature.
“35mm” expands upon the band’s melodic, post-punk approach, but the volume and anthemic-quality are dialed way up. The only slight criticism about the tune is that the dual harmonies of Chloe and Hannah Van Thompson could be more fierce and forceful, as is heard on “Blood Orange”.
“Blood Orange” is arguably the best song the band has crafted in their short history. The track is grittier and edgier than anything they have created, yet the addition of a shoegaze layer makes this “f***-off” song simultaneously blistering and lush. The approach partly resonates My Bloody Valentine but there’s a whole lot of The Cure. “Blood Orange”, hands down, is The Van T’s signature song to date and just a brilliant number.
“No Man’s Money” sees the band adopt more of a surf-rock, jangly approach. Like Best Coast and Canada’s The Beaches, “No Man’s Money” is one of those songs that will have you shaking your hips while rocking out. The jangly tinges continue on the EP’s finale, “Dandy”. This Vaselines- / Dum Dum Girls-esque number has a harder, rougher side than the previous number, but has the same effect where you can’t help but move to the tune.
Through two EPs, The Van T’s have demonstrated that they are not the prototypical post-punk, surf-rock band. Instead with A Coming of Age, they have once again displayed an effortless ability to combine infectious melodies, smooth harmonies, and a gritty, no-nonsense sound. The sound may cause some confusion in how to respond – do we rock out to the songs or dance uncontrollably? – but it just shows that the quartet is making music that stands out from the usual stuff. More importantly, the two EP are indications that The Van T’s are on the verge of something really special.
Coming of Age is out now via Bloc+Music. The Van T’s are Chloe Van Thompson, Hannah Van Thompson, Joanne Forbes, and Shaun Hood.
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