Daggering electronics groove dances beautifully atop a more growling grungey backbone. It’s Bowie with more bark.
‘Dropping A Bomb‘ is an explosive start to the album. A mission statement with a megaton musical message.
The vocals are oozing with sex appeal and swooning croon, the guitars roar through the emotive chorus, and the synths are perfectly balanced by the horn section and other instrumentation.
The production is sumptuous and gorgeous with energetic neon tinted lazers layered into the soundscape along with choral echoed vocal riffs.
This is followed by ‘Love Is The News‘ which carries on the deep dark disco flavour with a meloncholic lyrical dance that is at odds with the upbeat message and up-tempo groove.
The duality of the track makes it feels incredible powerful. It feels almost as if the chanting mantra is more of a prayer or promise than a statement.
‘The Ballad Of Orla Joan‘ departs from the dancefloor to the porch step to deliver a heartfelt bluesy ballad. It begins with a tearful touch on the strings but it isn’t too long before the track blooms with a building buzz and erupts back into electric energy.
The narrative of the album as a whole and the lyrical themes of all that has come before starts to really take shape with ‘Addicted‘. This is a story of love, loss, and lunacy.
The vocals dive delightfully into the passionate and poetic lyricism and clearly feel every line as poignantly as when they were first penned.
The soundtrack added to the album through the speeches included at the start of the songs paints a vivid picture of the journey and world of each track.
There is a retro vintage to the instrumentation but this is built with much more concrete synergy through tracks like ‘Stars‘.
Channeling that tear jerking emotive cosmic effervescence that Bowie mastered so beautifully, this track reaches out into interstellar realms to draw on a power otherworldly and infinite.
We are brought back to solid ground with ‘Hollywood Hills (Intermission)‘ a cuttingly sharp deconstruction of the hunger for fame and the truth of the reality of it.
Lyrically the tracks all have a depth that is all the more consuming for the keen ear for melody and hook to sell the messaging. The lead vocals have an enchanting swagger, but it’s in the backing track that every song really finds it’s teeth.
The metronomic tick of the 80s synths in the intro to ‘Animal‘ is a bubbling bop that transports you to a bygone era. It’s digital magic and utterly enchanting.
The track itself prowls and then pounces with an emotional and electric energy that delivers the feeling and mood of the music masterfully.
‘This Ain’t Love‘ brings back the brass to the boogie for some baby making music. More Prince than Bowie it’s sticky, sweaty, sexy, and snarlingly smooth.
A personal standout from the album it’s carefully crafted to climax and clings to the memory like the embrace of a tender kiss.
A love song to a location ‘London‘ is surreal in its sensually passionate prowess in the vocals. It’s heartfelt and paints a vivid image of a life lived.
We are treated to another tantric taste of the darker and more dangerous edge of The Vanities sound with title track ‘2001‘.
The lyrics take a witty and wise dance painting an image of reckless abandon and frenzied nights. With the pumped in news channel providing a dark duality to the crooning celebration.
The sax on this track is absolutely mesmeric, perfectly capturing the strange and unsettling score of the light and dark.
The album finale comes in the form of ‘Red Leaves‘ which begins with a nursery rhyme but then introduces a distorted fuzzing guitar that is more beastly than any we’ve heard so far.
From their the track journeys into stadium rock territory and has a distinctly U2 feel to the euphoric build and chorus.
A welcome return to the scene ‘2001‘ is an album made with true passion and prowess. The Vanities have been in voluntarily hiatus for a long time.
Their distinctly unique and innovative sound is one we hope we will be hearing much more of in the coming years.
Words by Matt Miles.