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SIBYL VANE – ‘Sybil Vane’ Album Review

SIBYL VANE – Sybil Vane

sibyl-vaneEvery now and then we get to review an album that silences the office in awe from the moment that the needle hits the first groove. The self-titled new release from Estonia’s Sibyl Vane (named after an Oscar Wilde character) provided one of the first such moments in 2017.

The opening track, Bomber lures you in with some softly strummed guitar laid down over a solid bass and drum rhythm with some excellent vocals full of angst, pain and emotion. The track builds and builds and those female vocals are truly excellent. Sibyl Vane are somewhat genre defying with hints of shoegaze (Ride), indie post-punk (think Theatre of Hate, Jesus & Mary Chain or The Sex Gang Children) or just accessible punk – whatever they are, they’re brilliant.

Up, Up, Down brings a chunky and churning guitar riff to the verses with a swirling chorus that the trio deliver like a dog straining at it’s leash to break free and it’s this restraint that adds a level of power that is compelling. On Clusterfuck the bass is prominent, fuzzed out as singer-songwriter and guitarist Helena Randlaht, belts out Cerys Matthews style and that bass just eats into your eardrums!

No doubt, that after writing 44 songs for this album the band had possibilities to choose in the studio and that makes these 10 tracks all winners. There is a simplicity to Sibyl Vane’s delivery but a true cleverness to the songs structures that demands repeated listens. Temper begins with vocals and plaintive, almost atonal guitar before it launches into hook laden track where the vocals had a hint of Gwen Stefani before exploring an almost majestic operatic approach – it’s a great song. Rocket Song is an indie rock masterpiece that rocks along and Noyee explores a more dance style beat in a Siouxsie & The Banshees way.

The band have a growing live reputation and it’s easy to see why with driving guitars, an eerie atmospheric sound, distinctive vocals and a tight as a gnats arse rhythm section, they are the real deal.

Almost Gospel starts with a bit of guitar work that wouldn’t be out of place on an album by The Who before a spaghetti western approach is explored and then the band speed things up. Just as you’re ready for the increase in pace, Time To Breath In is full on Jesus & Mary Chain driven bass and plain drum beats and catchy as all hell vocals before that wailing guitar adds the cherry on top of the cake. If you can’t tell by now, I fell in love with Sibyl Vane, hook, line and sinker!

The penultimate track on the album, No 44, speeds things up again with a driving bass that gets the toes tapping and head rocking as Randlaht delivers a stellar vocal performance. The album concludes with Slow Dance where a casually strummed guitar and nursery rhyme vocals lure you in and as the bass and drums kick in we are back to that slow, restrained and constant building of a simply beautiful song with some astounding vocals.

What an album, a Baltic gift – a delight – get it at the usual online outlets…

 

 

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