Glam-rock revivalists The Blue Van are both stylish and genuine
in their fandangos of guitar rock/organ hooks reminiscent of '70s
power pop players like Cream, Sweet and The Bay City
Rollers. Copenhagen's quartet grooms their latest record Man
Up from the Iceberg/EMI label with crevasses of psychedelic tremors
and baubles of power pop shreds, which produce an en vogue glam-rock
alloy like Sea Wolf and Razorlight. Lead vocalist/guitarist
Steffen Westmark torches the tracks in emotive vocals and jagged
guitar rips, cardigan by the deep molten tones of the Hammond organ
of Soren Oakes Christensen and domed by the staggering beats
of bassist Allan Villadesen and drummer Per Jorgensen.
To some listeners, The Blue Van are copying melodies from the forefathers
of '70s rock, but some listeners are going to hear something more
substantive and distinctive, such as a band that has a strong bond
with the glam-rock era of the '70s to such an extent that The Blue
Van oil up glam-rock's pistons and crank up its rotors to give it
The pummeling beats and brooding lacerations made by the guitar cuts
in tracks like "Home Soon" and "Stop Thinking Of Yourself"
create a belt of pulsating swells pinned by catchy bluesy hooks. It's
been the band's signature sound since their debut album The Art
Of Rolling in 2005. The band has a fetish for rhythmic chorus-line
kicks showcased in "The Socialite," and the brusque whipping
of "There Goes My Love" as Westmark implores, "Please,
I'm on my knees
There goes my love." The organ has a ghostly
undertow in the title track, which produces a haunting aura and levitating
movements as the guitar chords spike the funky rhythmic grooves and
Westmark's vocals cinch the melodic passages. The sonic flares strewn
across "Silly Boy" and "Lay Me Down And Die" are
fortified by chunky guitar chords embellishing the incinerating surges
as the hard rock propulsions of "Out Of Control" produce
shifts in the tune's momentum periodically speeding up and slowing
down through the highs and the lolls.
The Blue Van not only have an attachment to glam-rock but also to
country-folk textures which they draw out in the links that connect
along "In Love With Myself" as the wiggling tambourine beats
and cymbal strikes add a gypsy vibe to the melody. "Trees That
Resemble" is also raftered in sharp, slicing guitar slashes entangled
in strands of staccato beats. The band switches gears sprucing a soft-pop
confection in "True" as Westmark's vocals turn sentimental,
"You make me true
So damn easy to feel no good at all /
But in your arms, I never feel lost."
As much as The Blue Van give a nod to '70s glam-rockers, they also
dig deep into their own souls and uncover music that speaks from
their own emotions crossing from glam-rock to country-folk to funk-pop.
They don't corner themselves or crunch out tunes with a retro-rock
feel to them, but rather they give a toast to their forefathers
while following their own instincts.
Check out more
e-mail the chief
Like this article?
it to a friend!