We’ve been fans for Swedish ElectroPop queen Vanbot for a few years now; to the extent that we afforded her pride of place as track one on our electronic rumors Volume 1 compilation back in 2012 with the amazing Make Me, Break Me; and her self-titled album from the previous year has stayed on heavy rotation at electronic rumors HQ to this date. We like Vanbot a lot. The reason we’re telling you all this is that we want you to fully understand the weight behind our next statement. Vanbot’s forthcoming sophomore album, Perfect Storm, blows everything else she’s done to-date out of the water. As with both of our favourite albums of the past couple of years Chvrches The Bones Of What You Believe in 2013 and Ronika’s Selectadisc in 2014, Perfect Storm immediately garnered an emotional response and demanded our attention. That instant enamourment is always a good sign. Taking in influences from disparate and experimental ends of the electronic music spectrum, Vanbot medals them into a cohesive, and accessible, whole. A perfect storm indeed.
Perfect Storm is actually Vanbot’s second attempt at a follow up to her début long-player. Originally slated for a 2013 release, she was unsatisfied with the results, trashed it and started again (perhaps giving herself more room to breathe on the second go), and we are glad that she did. The album is bookended by a couple of moody titular synth scores; the first of these leading into Trooper, the premiere single we heard from Perfect Storm back in February. It neatly blends SynthPop, Indie-Electro and R&B into the record’s first, but not last, genre mashup. It’s a massive emotional sing-a-long opening that sets the pace for Perfect Storm’s ride.The Way You Say It and Bite The Bullet keep the energy levels high; both single material in their own right they serve up a hyper-kinetic, passionate and intricately crafted mood that is reined in by the beautiful Watching You Sleep; an introspective Indie-Electro (almost Folktronica) tune that feels somewhat like a breather before the following tracks flit between the Ladytron-esque SynthPop of Shake and the snare rolling Maniac, a fierce tune that at times seems to combine Dancehall with Electro-Rock. After the brooding, soundtrack feel of June, Perfect Storm launches into it’s final lap with the record’s second single, the epic Seven, the North American ElectroPop stylings of Better In The Light and the interlocking Industrial rhythms of Secrets. For it’s finale Perfect Storm offers Stay Alive, rounding off the album on a high point; a heartfelt anthemic track that seems to encompass everything you’ve just heard into one powerful opus. The second part of the titular bookends eases you out of the collection with an expanded version of the intro, adding swirling percussion and distant vocals to fade. Throughout Perfect Storm Vanbot’s vocals capture you attention and don’t let go as she pours passion and emotion into every syllable and succeeds in the (sometimes tricky) task of making her songs both meaningful and catchy. Frankly; in 2015 Vanbot has taken ElectroPop to school. This is how it should be done. Perfect Storm is very nearly a perfect album. Um…recommended.
♫ Vanbot – Trooper
♫ Vanbot – Seven
Vanbot’s Perfect Storm is released 15th May.
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