Summertime is the seasonal metaphor for change, the days are longer, the sun is shinning and there is a sense of renewed energy in the air as the ambiance of the days change from dark and dreary to warm and shimmering. Brooklyn based The Vandelles (Facebook/Twitter) have taken this to heart and are a band that has turned this analogy into a reality. Since releasing their début album Del Black Aloha and their Summer Fling EP to positive admiration last year the band has since altered in-between touring and recording new material. Now that the season is once again changing it is time to put ideas into practice as The Vandelles return with a new album, new sound and now a new line up as bassist and vocalist Lulu and Christo have disbanded onto other solo projects. The new line up has subsequently resulted in a new change of direction for The Vandelles and although they have stayed true to the creative concept, influence and quality of the bands first album, their sophomore Strange Girls Don’t Cry has inched towards a more in your face, shock and shake sound.
Their surf and turf garage rock and roll takes its influence from bands across the decades, including The Ramones, The Beach Boys. The Jesus and Mary Chain and The Raveonettes. They’re a fine mix of punk rock and roll, California sun drenched surf and a pinch of 90s brooding shoe gaze. Their music is fuzzy, scuzzy and reverb heavy, all the elements needed to make a great garage rock band and an awesome second album.
What’s distinctive about this record is that all tracks where recorded live together as a whole band rather then each instrumental section laid down separately, the tracks where then later overdubbed in the studio foregoing any form of editing or patching over. This unique way of recording has insured that the band could capture the primitive sound of their live performances and raw appeal.
You can hear what I mean on the albums lead off track I’m Way Ahead Of You as it blurs into guitar knots and menacing baselines. Its primal doses of noise and thumping percussion build up into a taut of dark matter. Good Boys Don’t Lie and Way Trough You take the edge of slightly and introduce a softer and whimsical synthesised rockabilly side to the album. With crashes of percussion, cooing vocals and jamboree swing they fuse together Psychocandy with psycholbilly. The albums title track Strange Girls Don’t Cry is a punk pop tune of raging heavy beats, rattling shakes of tambourine and humming edgy vocals while Nocturnal and All Aloah layers in all the elements of sonic guitar dread, icy vocals and a sinister psychedelic surf wave rift that would make the sea part rather then let you surf its waves.
The band sound more confident and impulsive with their sound and although there is still a wall of distortion clouding around the reverb on this album they don’t hide behind the formulaic narrative and metaphorical sound of the sun, sea and surf genre. Rather this album tones down the surf pop flavour of Del Black Aloha in favour of moody synth shoe gaze and drone still sparing with their surf noir roots and rocking a decent Dick Dale bass line the band are experiment more with different sound concepts and genres, gambling with a heavier darker mood. One listen to the distorted guitar and doom and gloom drone of Into the City sets the tone of the albums shaded dynamics.
Lead singer Jason Schwartz vocals are pushed to the limit, resonant and pain ridden they leave you with cold shivers tingling down your spine. The albums glistening up surging tempo and nipping bites of distortion feedback is straight up rock and roll and 60s garage sleaze at its best.
The band have been teasing audiences over the last few months with free downloads and previews of the album but finally fans can now download the album in full from the bands Bandcamp page.