2. Violent Minds
6. Play With Me ‘Cos I Can Take It
7. Verify Your Worth
8. All That Candy
9. I’m Sorry
10. Where Are You
11. White Lies
Scottish Pop-Punk up and comers VUKOVI have returned for their self-released second album ‘Fall Better’, three years after their self-titled debut, but make no mistake, the band certainly haven’t been quiet in this gap, touring the UK and Europe and sharing the stage with bands such as Frank Turner, ONE OK ROCK and Set It Off to name but a few.
Opening track '17359' states that ‘the content you have selected contains strong language, dark themes and some dirty fucking riffs’, which definitely holds true throughout the album, which barely lets up. They have refined their sound since their first album, combining these heavy riffs with some electronic elements to create a unique sound that is instantly recognisable.
Lead single 'C.L.A.U.D.I.A' showcases the vocal power and range of lead singer Janine Shilstone, showing that she can hold her own with other heavyweight frontwomen of the genre such as Hayley Williams of Paramore and Jenna McDougall of Tonight Alive. The high paced track subsides for the break, before coming crashing back in at the end with a half-time chorus to drive the song to its finish.
The standout track for me is hard to pick, but if I had to choose, I’d say the album’s eighth track, 'All That Candy', which balances Hamish Reilly’s guitar work with Shilstone’s vocals brilliantly. I’ve always been partial to songs that have heavy riffs contrasted by comparatively light vocals, and VUKOVI use this style throughout the album, but I feel it was the most effective on this track.
It’s not quite all heavy riffs, however, as track 'Where Are You' shows a more vulnerable side to the band, and it works equally well as the heavier side of the album. It provides a showcase for the talent of Shilstone, who’s vocals on the track are beautifully haunting. Despite it being slower in tempo than the rest of the album, it doesn’t feel sluggish or like the band was taking a break, as some ballad-style tracks often feel like.
I wouldn’t be surprised if VUKOVI gain a lot more traction after the release of 'Fall Better', especially with the resurgence of ‘alternative’ music. This album provides a brilliant start to the year, as well as a reminder to some of the bigger, more established bands within the genre that they have some tough younger competition.
Website - http://www.vukovi.co.uk/
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/vukoviband/
Review - Gordon Rae