Vundabar – ‘Vundabar’ EP review

Having supported Mac DeMarco in the States, Boston trio Vundabar have just finished a tour throughout France (with an extra show at Camden’s Lock Tavern thrown in for good measure) and now they’re releasing their self-titled EP. Specialising in the kind of slackerpop that makes you want to live the life of a student once more, we’re sure you’re going to quickly become a fan of this band.

The opening ‘Holy Toledo’ is full of falsettos and catchy hooks, all played in a charmingly loose style while the lyrics provide knowing observations about the band’s own personal experiences: ‘My life’s a cliché’. The powerful vocals are reminiscent of Grouplove and the rest of the songwriting seems to have taken notes from Ben Kweller – pretty much the perfect inspiration for quirky oddball pop. The song takes an unexpected turn as it breaks down halfway through and then veers into slightly more math territory as sophisticated guitar chords combine with the devastating drums. These sounds are also present on the more tribal-sounding ‘Ash in the Sun’, which is full of stop-start moments and sounds every bit like a song that would fill any indie disco dancefloor.

‘Voodoo’ has an altogether more 70s vibe, the introduction especially owing a debt to the Doors. As the song progresses, it jumps forward a decade or two to bring to mind ‘Train in Vain’-era The Clash – especially as the guitars falter and thrash around in such an accomplished way. ‘What did you come here for?’ the band ask on ‘Greenland’, a huge-sounding indie-pop anthem in waiting. With its hypnotic melodies mixed with a grunge-tinged surfer sound, the song has a delightfully odd and peculiar outro. Vundabar really let loose on the closing ‘Sad Clown’ with big riffs and falsetto vocals signalling the start of the song in style. Covering a quite heartbreaking story (‘He’s the saddest clown I’ve ever seen, makes me turn green, lives at his mum’s place, minimum wage, but he does it for the kids, they all hate him’) in a joyful style, the song ends with some high-pitched ‘La la las’ you won’t be able to resist singing along to.

Vundabar are simply wonderful.

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