On their new album Heroics, which is available now via Dome A Records, the Glasgow, U.K.-based group Vasa have delivered a richly dynamic and engagingly immersive post-rock portrait of both the anxieties and triumphs of growing through the progression of life. The song titles indicate the band’s ideas — “Childhood,” “Adolescence,” and “Adulthood,” all make an appearance, among other highlights — and the band deliver on that premise big time. Amidst their often thick-toned, heavy rock, the band have zeroed in upon providing honestly almost startlingly forward-moving and ultimately even somewhat uplifting groove and overall melodic progression, which, in a sense, mirror life’s own progression.
Besides the emotional implications, there’s also plenty of space here to just sink into the riffing. Throughout the album, Vasa do occasionally evolve their performances into a more moderate-paced, somberly serious undertaking, but the subdued yet immensely palpable forward energy always remains running strong anyway. The band feel markedly forward-looking, even in the midst of those serious and solemn moments, and listeners feel like they can easily move the same forward direction, which makes the album’s experience refreshing.
The album’s aptly named second track, “Heroics,” quickly gets super heavy, but it’s rocked by blasts of just really catchy groove. Both there and across the album, the whole mix feels strangely positive, in an inescapably bright-feeling yet grounded rather than flippant sense. The uplifting, always breathable melodies, which stick around even when the music evolves into darker moments, prove that powerful.
Like in the life cycle the album’s concept mirrors, tension starts to creep in while progressing through the album. Track three, called “Everything is Golden,” features slightly more rapid dynamic shifts, and there are hints of a heavy breakdown around the middle, although even that component feels quite grounded in groove. There’s always a groove to latch onto through these sonic explorations. On “Adolescence,” the next track, the melodies turn toward a meditative, slower feeling, like an expression of creeping confusion, which again fits well with the album’s concept. On from there, the speed and intensity keep on growing, with some real razor edge riffing on “Mini-Boss.” The following track, “Prom Night,” breaks out into a bit of a rush, and the shifting melodies eventually sound like they’re a dance tune thanks to the quick but smooth dynamic shifts back and forth.
On the album’s lengthy concluding track, called “Settle,” Vasa place bursts of vibrancy in the middle of the sprawling, methodical structure, and finding bright spots in the midst of ordinary adult days definitely feels like an alluring idea. Overall, the “point” here feels like feeling the experience of the riffs and the life processes they mirror. Vasa’s new album packs a chance to stop and appreciate the journey.
Listen to the music below!