But where Mogwai tend to search for long, complex structures with repetitiveness as one major focus, VASA is taking the quick detour through the universe of crescendos and “construct and collapse”. They never take hostages on the way, but they also do not kill anyone standing in the way. There is something quite punk-ish about their musical approach which can be noticed in the oftentimes uptempo numbers that they hand out on their sophomore full-length “Heroics”, the first release in four years and fourth in total.
The way they structure their songs is simple at first glance, short, feisty outbursts of melody, brimful of quick shots at Weezer-like bubblegum-punk (without lyrics, of course), but when listening to it in full-concentration mode with the headphones on, it becomes clear that there are many subtle layers within the arrangements which shows that the quartet will definitely have a lot to do replicating these songs on stage. That little something are the chaos-constructing side-shots, guitar licks, quick stop and go’s on the drums or some snappy little keyboard-like quirky thing, which jump from left to right catching the attention of the listener so that one often forgets to listen to everything.
At the same time, there is a concept behind the record – it resembles a triptych about the stages of life, progressing from childhood to adolescence and adult life. Noticeable is that in those different cocktails of joy and melancholy, always the same two ingredients, but three very different drinks in themselves.
What is mind-boggling about “Heroics” is that it shows a band seemingly at the peak of their creativity and at the same time promising even more on the outline of the horizon. No one knows where VASA will end but this record is already a release not to be forgotten. And who knows, Mogwai also only started with “Young Team”. Cheers to Glasgow’s new phenom!