Little Creatures, the sophomore release from Vast Robot Armies, is an excellent blend of shoegaze and indie rock with some psychedelic accents around the room. With a vocal style that recalls Rob Dickinson from The Catherine Wheel blended onto enormous drums, crunchy guitars, slinky bass lines and reverbed keyboards, the band has constructed a sonic palette that picks up where bands like Radiohead and Fugazi left off in the ‘90s (though not in a derivative way).
The songwriting on the album is top notch, blending catchy melodies with striking instrumental performances. The band uses dynamics, builds and breakdowns to complement the lyrical and emotional content of each song. The songs often climax into anthems but are always earned by the building of harmonies, facile instrumental solos and journeys throughout the stereo spectrum.
Instrumentally, the band members complement each other very well. The contrapuntal lines between the bass and guitar develop interesting countermelodies, blending Gilmour/Edge-like tone with post-surf melodies and post-grunge fuzz. Subtle tambourines sneak in and drive the momentum and excitement of the songs’ building upon the incredibly energetic drumming.
The loud crunchiness of “Everything New Is Old Again” is contrasted with the jangly “In Shreds” and the spacey closer “Your Ex Knife Set.” The production on the album allows the dynamics and abilities of the band to soar and sound large while maintaining the clarity of the vocals and subtleties of the performance.
“In The Other Room” sums up the best strengths of the songwriting, production and performance of Vast Robot Armies building up to stadium rock strength without losing the emotional intimacy of the song. This is a band confident and assertive in their sound, which is catchy, enriching, accessible and very intriguing.
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