Even though Vukovar was formed in 2014, these guys were productive indeed and up until now, they produced two really brilliant releases.
Their debut album Emperor, released in July, 2015 was well received by the critics, and not without reason. As I was first introduced to their second album Voyeurism, I was very much intrigued by the sound, so I really needed to check out their first coming.
Emperor is blessed with that indie pop sound I treasure so much, but their true aim is experimenting with various genres, as they don’t want to stick to one idea only.
The first track “Silent, Almost Sleeping” cannot suggest what awaits you further and I feel it rather as a slow intro. But very soon they start unveiling the story with the second one “Koen Cohen K., which shows how keen they are on the indie pop/rock expression. After that catchy, poppy and flowing number, they surely remain indie, but with the touch of psychedelia this time on “Regular Patrons Of The Salon Kitty”. However “Lose My Breath” goes more into the noise and experimentation and they trade their indie for the alternative rock sound here, keeping it short but to the point. “Nero’s Felines” puts them back on that indie track, evoking some memories and proving that they are a true indie band who keep this scene alive. Another track that will surely get your attention is “Concrete”, again more alternative and indie rock oriented; you cannot escape those guitar riffs, expressive vocal and inviting beat and at one moment they really can compete with Pixies with this one. “No Guilt Felt” really has that “made in UK” stamp on it, and even though this was hardly their intention they do share some of the same feel as the good old Velvet Underground, but in the UK version. However, to get to the greatest anthem of this release you need to wait for “The New World Order”, as they placed it at the very end of the album. Great catchy melody, rounded by female backing vocals really makes this one stand out melodically if you are into indie. Just on the last track “The Staircase”, you can hear the neofolk influence on their creative process, mostly due to the spoken lyrics and minimal input to the sound complexity. They chose rather to keep it minimal and repetitive and rely on the spoken word to create the neofolk genre atmosphere.
So what do they offer on Voyeurism? Less than a year after their debut album, released in May 2016, Voyeurism shows the band’s evolution in a more experimental and darker direction. They are still coherent but more bold in their ideas; this album is free of any compromises, as they would not settle for anything less. The album depicts the total freedom of expression. Again they open with a minimalistic one “You’re Not Alone”, but this time you feel what you can expect from the rest of the material right from the start. The second track “Masterpiece” you will really want to listen to on repeat. It is pure and raw, with just the right amount of energy, and while the bass supports the rhythm, guitar and vocal create the catchy phrases. If you don’t quite understand “Quiet” as it surely is not an easy listening track, wait for “Into Your Arms”. Even if it’s a kind of an interlude really if you consider the length, it says just enough; again keeping it short but the point is there. “The Fog” is really a foggy one; its atmosphere is misty and dim, ethereal and hypnotising and again flirting with the neofolk genre idea. But they don’t disband their attachment to the indie pop/rock so easily, as you can find it on “The Blood Garden”. However don’t be fooled by what may seem as an innocent and catchy melody or angelic backing vocals here, ’cause soon they go back to the darkness with “Irreversible”; heavy and restless feel that runs through this album is highlighted here to the fullest. Be patient with this one, they really rip their hearts out and if you are ready to rip out yours, stay with them all the way to 8:49. And for the last one, they saved one real indie rock treat for you, “Little K.’s Final Reflection”; think of a beautiful merge of the British and US indie rock stars on the music sky, chill and enjoy!