One good music discovery often leads to another. After our review of the extraordinary 'Svankropp', we were tipped off about 'VVhales', a Swedish indie band who share the same drummer as Svankropp. And despite initial challenges finding them on Spotify (it is of course VVhales with 2 'V's rather than a 'W') my week certainly hasn't been wasted since then getting to know an EP which is slightly more accessible than Svankropp, but which shares some of the same brilliant eccentricities.
The EP opens up with 'Grownup's Disco', a glorious 3 minutes of instrumental noise, which veers between the chaotic and the anarchic. It reminds me of an amazing YouTube video I've seen of a disco at a retirement home in Clacton where the DJ plays Cardiacs 'Dog Like Sparky' and all the OAP's happily dance and cavort their way round the dance floor to the music (OK go on then....this one https://youtu.be/A_WAvi4ikCU). Next track 'Try Too Hard' hits the mark perfectly, combining melodic and distinct vocals whilst still retaining some of the characteristic offbeat rhythms, and I really like 'I Love Polarbear' with some utterly ridiculous lyrics and a quirky melody.
I must admit at this point I had doubts over whether such distinct vocals and melodies would work live with tracks such as 'I Love Polarbear' but YouTube evidence of a live show suggests that they are able to deliver a convincing performance. 'Hearts Belonging' is 8 minutes of complex rhythms, anthemic harmonised vocals, a bass solo and a kitchen sink style approach to songwriting which mostly hits the mark. And concluding track 'Starry Eyed Cheeks' typifies the VVhales approach, melodic songwriting which for a while wanders off in a different direction before somehow finding its way back to the main theme.
Of course, the danger for 'VVhales' is that their creative approach will result in music that is too abstract and unaccessible to most music fans - however their debut EP just about clings on to 'indie mainstream' normality, and as such this becomes seriously interesting music which I hope will capture peoples attention in the Nordic countries and the UK. I certainly love their unconventional style and whilst it is not without some flaws, VVhales have released a highly enjoyable, original EP which is one of my favourite debut releases of the year.