From the mischievous opening guitar riffs on Aluminium, the new record from Birmingham, AL rockers Vulture Whale, there’s an implied naughtiness that will only intrigue you to keep listening. And their heady jams will continue to twist and turn in ways that will make you want to head-bang and shake your ass in equal measure.
There’s a dark, brooding quality to their fuzzed out vocals and when contrasted with the epic, almost hair-metal guitar melodies, the sound is loud, messy and sexy, full of menace and adrenaline. There are unexpected hooks buried in there, too. On album opener “Can’t Help It”, you get a lusty tune with a highly repeatable chorus, and on “Raised Doubts”, they mix a seventies classic rock (a la Cheap Trick) aesthetic with stoner guitar jams. You can hear hints of producer Mark Rains’ background in there, too, specifically the deep masculinity that exists in the sound of Black Rebel Motorcycle Club.
Led by the excellently monotone drawl of Wes McDonald, Vulture Whale exhibits that effortless tangle of gritty rock and roll and hyper-focused instrumentation. Their arrangements are intricate and thoughtful, and even when they seem to go off on a jam tangent, it never feels like it needs to be reigned in. It sounds instead like freedom, edgy and cool without even trying, particularly on one of the album’s true standouts “Hope it’s Alright”. Aluminium is punk rock in spirit if more classic in influence.
But the Southern identity shows itself, too, with a hint at a twang that appears every now and then (like on the groovy “Five Step Plan” and slowed down “Glad You Came”). Vulture Whale creates songs you want to get sweaty to, be a bad ass to, and get high to, and even if none of those are your thing, they have the power to convince you with Aluminium.
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