The long awaited full-length debut from the Glasgow instrumental quartet Vasa has finally arrived. Colours is a very fitting name for the album, as the music is an overwhelming sensory experience. The riffs are relentless and the drums unwavering in every song as song each flows into the next like fallen dominos. Vasa is a rare beast, where the normal tags for most instrumental rock quartets don’t necessarily apply, they have elements of post-rock and mathy qualities, but I’d hesitant to call them a post-rock, or at least with the connotation generally applied to post-rock. This is not music that takes several minutes for each song to develop, and the songs aren’t designed to have the listener stand/sit motionless contemplating some existential existence. Vasa is fun and direct, all the time! This is dancing, beer drinking, pumping your fist in the air kind of music. “Post-Party Rock” or “Party Math Rock” are genre names more indicative of the music found on Colours.
The tone of Colours is set from the beginning riff of the quick opener ‘Smashletes’ and carries right into ‘As Long As It Doesn’t Explode’ which starts off with a riff reminiscent of Axes and then mid-way through the song they kick on the nitrous tanks and hit a heavy breakdown that almost sounds fitting on a Russian Circles album. Standout songs like ‘Not A Cop’, ‘The Angry Dome’, and the album closer ‘Poseidon’s Kiss’ showcase the level of musicianship that Vasa possesses, with melody after catchy melody, dense musical layering, and great song arrangements. While the music is saturated in bold riffs it’s important to note that the ultimate strength of Vasa is not just in the musical capability of the players, but their song writing and arranging ability.
A musical theme that rears its head throughout the album is the future. Blaine, Scott, and John are very tasteful with their guitar and bass tones, and a lot of sounds on the album sound like something from the future, but not in some kind of sterile or soulless robotic way, more in an exploration of the sonic possibilities presented by technology. Vasa are explorers, and the music of Colours bears the fruits their explorations have discovered. The 21st Century is proving to be a brave new world for instrumental rock music, and Vasa is one of the bands at the forefront of the new world, colonizing this untamed land for the rest of us to enjoy.
Instrumental, post-rock, math rock, party math rock, party rock
Sounds A Tad Like
Alpha Male Tea Party, Axes, Battles, Bearded Youth Quest, El Ten Eleven
Not A Cop, Poseidon’s Kiss
£7 digital, £15 vinyl (Bandcamp)