Album Review: Fangclub – ‘Culture Vulture’

By June 28, 2019 July 2nd, 2019 Album, Reviews

Forming in 2013 Dublin Alt rockers, Fangclub have proved to be a punk-grunge force to be reckoned with, in the alternative and DIY scenes. The trio Steven King (guitar and Vocals), Kevin Keane (bass) and Dara Coleman (drums) are soon to release their highly anticipated sophomore album, ‘Vulture Culture’. 

The debut ‘Fangclub’ was released in 2017 and features many catchy hooks, fast paced riffs and of course distorted instruments. This theme follows suit in ‘Vulture Culture’ but the whole album feels as though it has been executed in a different way. This is can be seen in the new effects present on King’s guitar, the synthesiser introduction on the track ‘Every Day’,the pads used in ‘Last Time’ and the lo-fi production methods on ‘Hesitations’ and others.These new developments have allowed Fangclub to diversify their sound and to become more than just an alternative rock/grunge band.

Another thing which has developed is King’s lyrics which provide his commentaries on the ‘Vulture Culture’ we live in, the violence of our minds on ourselves and society in the track ‘Viva Violent’, as well as a sprinkling of love in the track ‘Last Time’ which was recorded under lamplight when King sang it to his girlfriend in a studio. The track ‘Last Time’ opens the album, providing a slow and chilled out jam, something that might conventionally be used to close an album but instead Fangclub chose to place it first to flip the album on its head and launch into full violence after such a sentimental tune. ‘Last Time’ ends with an announcement that is geared for the citizens of the ‘Vulture Culture’.

 “Hello this is a kingdom emergency broadcast, please stand by for further instructions. Citizens must stay indoors, lock all entry and exits, trust your government, blame your parents, hookup your subconscious to you television, numb your daydreams with the standard issue placebo. Sit tight and enjoy. Carpe noctem. Welcome to the Vulture Culture.” 

This announcement welcomes you to the album introducing the album’s primary message about society and ‘Vulture Culture’ that we live in, with all the love, drug abuse and everything that counts. This announcement is a punk lyricist’s heaven.

The track ‘Nightmare’ is the most recent single released from the album and is one such track that deals with paranoia, addiction and suicidal thoughts that haunted King in his darkest days, this can be seen in the lyrics “you’re living in a Nightmare”. In 2017 King suffered a drug overdose outside of a hotel in London whilst Fangclub were on a tour supporting the SWMRS. During this time everyone in the band and their close inner circle of Fangclub fans King beat his issues and now wants to feel, experiencing the good and bad and overall grow as an artist. This sentiment is another that can be seen throughout ’Vulture Culture’ as the album does not just feel like a bunch of singles all wrapped together, it takes you on a journey. Some songs that take on King’s drug problems on the album are ‘Heavy Handed’ and ‘All I Have’. These fast but almost melancholic jams deal with King’s past drug problems which can be seen in the lyrics “Will I ever see the light of day?” and “Will I ever need another hit?” which are present in ‘Heavy Handed’ and “Another hit and you’re my only escape” and “All I have is in my head and I’m just living like it’s over” which are present in  ‘All I Have’.

Much like Fangclub’s debut they have retained their DIY nature, this can be seen in how ’Vulture Culture’ was also recorded in isolation from their label. King wrote a majority of the lyrics for the track last minute as this gave a raw feeling to the songs as he had no time to change them or hide the real stories from even himself.

Words: Thomas Steel