Fangclub – ‘Vulture Culture’

By Andy Joice

Inspiration for art can come from many different places. Be it visual or chemical, external factors or internal feelings. Like so many of the most compelling, thought provoking, and moving artists, Fangclub channel emotion as their main source of inspiration – both negative and positive, they embrace it all, and have used it to create their emotionally charged sophomore album ‘Vulture Culture’.

As part of the process, the Irish natives isolated themselves on a month-long retreat at Giant Wafer Studios in rural Wales. While this helped the writing process, it naturally put a strain on their mental health, with drummer Dara Coleman jokingly admitting “I was willing to lose my mind for the album. Around day twenty, I became paranoid that everyone in the house hated me.”

Forcing himself to write lyrics at the last minute in an attempt to stay as raw as possible, vocalist/guitarist Steven King is unbearably honest. “It forced me to use pretty revealing lines because I didn’t have time to hide the real stories.” The outcome is a brutally visceral record with themes of fear, paranoia and violence laced throughout. “The album became about violence. There’s violence in the tones of it. Towards yourself and to other things.”

Perhaps the least violent is opening track ‘Last Time’. Opening with a slow, Radiohead-esque intro, King’s voice is achingly tender. A gentle melody soothingly cushions the fragility in his delivery, before building to a balladic chorus. Written around extracts of a confessional note towards his girlfriend, it’s a slow building love song that oozes passion and heart.

Standout track and single ‘Hesitation’ deals with addiction and draws from King’s experiences with drugs, as well as the paranoia and suicidal thoughts that came with it. Punchy, direct and deceptively sinister, the track closes with a children’s choir that adds to the malevolence.

The album’s namesake ‘Vulture Culture’ reflects just that – Vulture Culture. The theory that people are always hovering around you, waiting for you to fuck up to pick the bones, it’s something King became acutely aware of both from the entertainment industry and within his home town of Rush, north of Dublin.

Closing with ‘Slow’, the album returns to the theme of paranoia and addiction. The chorus of “higher than high / lower than low / I’m going insane and nobody knows” typifies Kings inner struggles. A pounding melody from bassist Kevin Keane, matched in ferocity by Coleman, lays the perfect landscape for King’s soaring vocals. If there was ever the perfect accompanying track for ‘Hesitations’, it’s this one.

So while there isn’t anything ground-breaking within Vulture Culture, it’s a fantastically well written and well composed record. Stuffed with emotive lyrics, captivating hooks, and fuzz laden guitars, its charm is in its raw honesty.

ANDY JOICE

Three more album reviews for you

LIVE: Trash Boat / Capstan / Doll Skin @ Stylus, Leeds

Selfish Things - 'Logos'

Cult Of Luna - 'A Dawn To Fear'