Vuvuvultures have been carving their way through the underground press for a little while now, charming at every turn, readily provocative and exposing their genuine curiosity for innovating in sound and noise. Stepping out with last year's 'VVV' e.p. they reminded us that pop music really can be interesting and fun at the same time with a brace of four seductive and risqué gems infused with an enticing mix of electronically spattered goth rock and indie.
Which brings us to Push/Pull. 'Ctrl Alt Mexicans' opens up proceedings in familiar territory having previously lead the VVV e.p. It is, quite literally, a very groovy piece, peppered with plenty of homemade inventive noise (possibly produced by one box of tricks the band refers to as The Appliance Of Science). It's a great intro, with quirky riffs and fills from Paul and Matt, swept along by Nicole's thunderously dirgey bass and of course, Harmony's exceptional voice. What follows is the whale sinking pop hook that anchors 'Steel Bones' together and the jaunty interplay of vocal and harpsichord-esque synth in the pacey, dark swirl that constitutes 'Deaf Epic'. It's a thrilling triumvirate to get things going on an album with deadly purpose.
But it's here that 'Push/Pull' falters for the first time with 'Your Thoughts Are A Plague'. It swaggers with great confidence, loitering with intent but it comes to naught and frustratingly there are further examples that suffer this symptom. Three in a row in fact; 'The Professional', 'Tell No-One' and 'The Strangler' clatter along, hanging in the wind, aloof and looking to prove their sophistication by sheer battery. It's not enough, although 'Tell No-One’s industrial overtones bring the track back over to the right side of dangerous. These are the slower, seemingly more introspective entries in the set – slow burners snuffed of their potential.
Bookending this are 'Whatever You Will' and 'Another Hit', both returns to form, two tracks which unsurprisingly by now, show off Vuvuvultures’ super toned pop chops to great effect. These are tracks in the vein of the notably absent but both brilliant ‘Still’ (their previous single) and ‘Safe Skin’ (from ‘VVV’) and it’s a shame these don’t make an appearance here.
Push/Pull is a remarkably apt title for a record that seems so evenly split in terms of direction and focus. Don't get me wrong, Vuvuvultures are a tremendous band with plenty to give and they’re well defined when it comes to their signature sound. It just feels a bit like they're holding a little too much back when they clearly have the best hand many of us have seen in a long while. It’s all here; Vuvuvultures just need to cut loose with it.