Written by Jonathan Delivuk
EMOTIONALLY SLURRED AND SONICALLY DANCEABLE, VANCOUVER POST-PUNKS TRY TO CLIMB OUT OF THE WORLD'S STATE OF DRAG.
As we reach the close of a less than optimal summer within this year of uncertainties, Vancouver's underground post-punk trio Laverne shines a bummed out but optimistic light with the release of their second full-length LP lack of vocation.
Emotionally slurred but direct, twangy and dissonant but melodic and topped with a tight groovy rhythm section, Laverne dishes out the soundtrack to climb our way out of the world's current state of total drag. The record brings us from a bed of depression towards solace as we come to terms with life’s sometimes unfortunate realities.
The album's single and opening track “90s” begins with a reverb-driven chord progression that, as the title says itself, pays direct homage to nostalgic nineties shoegaze riffing. Enters a tight rock n’ roll beat followed by these loose, baritone and melancholic vocals that set the tone for the rest of the album. A great track for watching the sunset and reminiscing about the simpler times.
We’re hit in the next track “chummy” with a hooky bassline and a buoyant drum beat, a contrary vibe to that of “90s” but groovy as hell. The vocals are punchy and spewed out almost like a spoken word verse at times but still, rhythmically and melodically, maintain a consistent flow. A perfect segue into the third track “quit”. Sonically, a track that’s danceable but can also be the sound therapy required in the midst of a sad walk home from the worst day job imaginable. “I can’t seem to quit” is repeated throughout the song and seemingly discusses the inability as artists to quit our craft and settle for the mundane “normal” career path the mainstream world attempts to punish us into the everyday. This theme expands as the album progresses.
Tracks like “peace” are the go to’s for anyone looking to jump up and down repeatedly in an imaginary peaceful mosh pit, whatever that looks like but it sounds like the best time ever.
The album weaves in and out from jams like this to tracks like “matter of tact” the album's second single release. Expanding slightly from the theme of “quit” this track highlights the “dream” most artists identify themselves with and the doubt that comes along as life pushes these dreams further and further away. It begins feeling like a jazzy rock tune but midway through transforms into a nineties post-grunge breakdown that has us bobbing our heads up and down until the closing lyrics “obsessed with the dream, useless it seems” slaps our souls with uncomfortable relatability.
“fell” begins and ends with a straight-ahead catchy drum line throughout the song topped with a sombre but uplifting loosely strummed chord progression. It conveys the feeling of walking and falling simultaneously into an inevitable pit of life’s realities. A perfect track to happily cry to while hugging a pizza-shaped pillow telling yourself everything is going to be not okay. We are then brought back to the essence of the peaceful mosh pit with the track “fads”. This tune has a sarcastic undertone drawn from the expression in the hooky chorus line “you gotta walk like me, you gotta talk like me” implying that it’s discussing the animosity directed towards mob mentality. People love to ride the bandwagon and it pisses us off, this is the track to alter that peaceful mosh pit into an aggressive slam pit.
The album's closer “twitchy eye” is a perfect laid back jam to finish the record off. Opening with what sounds like a broken cassette player fading into a clean, raw, melancholic verse it embodies the fatigue acquired after surviving a long day in a world that now requires a metaphorical and literal mask. Laverne leaves us beyond satisfied and aching for another listen.
lack of vocation is a beautifully raw post-punk record that offers the perfect diversity for an album that can be jammed at a party, and one that will drag us out of bed while contemplating whether or not to endure another day of this world's absurdity.
lack of vocation is out now.