On the new captivating record “Heroics”, VASA‘s trademark eruptive style is further explored and fairly proves that post rock can be more than delay pedals and crescendos built on repeatable patterns. The new album from Scottish act hits the streets today via Dome A Records and we’re thrilled to give you a special presentation through the lens of the first-hand track by track commentary below.
VASA has already built a strong reputation for themselves since their debut in 2015, which has translated into performances with a number of well-regarded bands and appearances at ArcTanGent, PORTALS and other notable festivals. Their new offering “Heroics” is a sonic exploration in coming to terms with the pains of ageing by reconnecting with our own individual pasts and the histories of generations before. Marking a significant growth in the band’s trademark celtic post-rock sound, the album unlocks new depths to their creativity, drawing from the invincibility of childhood, the chaos of adolescence, and the uncertainties of adulthood.
A continuation of their unrelentingly upbeat and joyful approach to the occasionally tawdry world of post-rock, Heroics sees them as riotous and celebratory as ever. Thankfully, despite their maturation, VASA are still the kind of band that consistently remind us that this whole music lark is meant to be fun, right?
Childhood – Very quick and concise intro track, mirroring how little we actually remember from the very first stages of our lives. Hardcore VASA nerds (if such people exist) might recognise the main melody as the last melody from our previous record. Synergy.
Heroics – This represents the fun, frantic nature of early life and is one of the more chaotic and frantic tracks on the album. Possibly the closest song to our older material in that it’s bursting with different ideas and doesn’t linger on one mood for too long.
Everything is Golden – The third and final song of the ‘childhood’ section of the record. The title refers to the last time in your life before you have any real responsibilities or worries.
Adolescence – The start of a slightly darker, more turbulent passage of songs, the universal experience of the sudden changes that come with adolescence are expressed through the sudden dynamic shifts in the track. This features our first foray into using electronic drums.
Mini–Boss – The title refers to the bully or tormenter that we unfortunately have all come across at some stage in our lives – usually in our teenage years. The track is 100% pure musical beef. The inspiration for the track came from Niall kicking his childhood bully in the testicles.
Prom Night – This song represents the end of high school and the uncertainty of this time is represented by the frantic, uneasy crescendo. Its also one of our dancier songs, so we thought it was the perfect track title.
Victoria – This title represents the point when you move away from home for the first time for college/uni/work, so its chaotic and uncomfortable at points, but there’s still a lot of excitement and fun involved. Victoria comes from the name of the student halls Blaine and Niall stayed at.
Adulthood – The impending terror post-uni that you have to become an adult and have to figure out what the hell you are doing with your life. This track is inspired by the first panic attack Blaine experienced whilst on tour shortly after finishing uni. A fun time for all involved.
Expectations – The stark reality of the daily grind of working. The repetitive groove of this song represents the repetitive and mundane aspects of adult life. This song was one of the older ideas that we had written that we re-purposed for this album.
Settle – This is the point where things start clicking into place and you get settled into life a bit more easily. Its not all positive, but you are starting to feel like you are getting the hang of things. A lot of time was spent on this song in the studio to make the ending as epic as possible.
VASA in 2020:
Nothing set in stone as of yet, hopefully some more EU touring before the UK shoots itself in the face via Brexit and trying to get our new album out to as many ears as possible.
Scottish and English post rock
The scene is still going strong, it’s been really consistently good since the inception of ArcTanGent in 2013, which has given us all a place to congregate and get drunk once a year outside of the touring circuit. There’s a really nice, welcoming DIY element to the post/math rock scene in the UK that definitely exists elsewhere but due to the size of the relative size of the UK it feels very close knit here.
Other bands worth a check
Adult Fun and A Sudden Burst of Colour are both ridiculously good bands from Scotland that will both (hopefully) have new material for our ears relatively soon. Also, I recently heard Sugar Horse from Bristol who are really fucking good and look like they’re going to have a really good year. From further afield, Holy Fawn are great, their new EP is a new favourite of ours.
Post-rock was saved by remembering that music should have contrast. Post-rock was saved by remembering that color is a spectrum. Post-rock was saved by remembering to have some fun god damn it. Post-rock was saved by bands like VASA. They probably didn’t know they were saving it; they probably didn’t really care. But they did. Alongside a whole host of (mostly) European and North American bands, VASA have been re-injecting post-rock with chutzpah, moxy, guts, whatever you want to call it, that it had somewhat lost in its strive for artistic vision. Their new release, the soon-to-be-released Heroics, is a wonderful continuation of this energy, chock full of bouncy riffs, loud bass, and an all around vibe of expression, unfiltered, unbridled, fun expression.
Heroics, more than any of the band’s previous releases, just goes all out, driving back to the point we opened with: post-rock should be fun for crying out loud! Music should make you shout, itch in your shins, it should make you want to stand up and run through a wall. Music should make you feel and VASA have gotten quite good at reaching in to that place within us that responds to music and give it a good twist, to set our hearts running. Heroics is a ride, a lark, a celebration, a release. It’s what good post-rock should sound like in the year of our Lord, 2020. Blessed be! / Heavy BLog Is Heavy
“An intensely positive musical experience that has depth and replay value” – The National Scot
“One of the most exciting, dynamic instrumental bands in the UK” – The Independent
“Their impressive beginnings may evolve into the spectacular” – The Skinny
“Incredibly hard-working Glaswegian instrumentalists” – PROG Magazine
“Captivatingly expansive and brilliantly immediate” – Gold Flake Paint
“Blistering post-rock…they’re going to be huge” – Clash Magazine
“One of Glasgow’s favourite unsigned bands” – Scotsman
“Magnetically powerful” – The iNewspaper
“Thrilling” – New Noise Magazine
“Ones to Watch” – Total Guitar