Rating – 3.5/5
Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/vedawave/
A modern retelling of dark-wave bands gone by- taking influence from the horror-punk and goth legends of before and rewriting the formula to create a fresh new take on an old sound.
The debut album “Leave It All Behind” from Birmingham based goth-pop solo artist VEDA feels like a reboot of the darkwave and post-punk bands of the 80s. The album breathes new life into a lost genre with fresh takes on the sound, delivering monotonous gothic lyrics that are driven by bright and lifting guitars and synths throughout, that steer the sound into places untypical of standard dark-wave or post-punk of days gone by.
VEDA’s undoubted best song on the album for me is “What a Shame”, with fast pasted guitars and bass that break up the droning and moody verses with a heavy layer of instrumental sections, VEDA’s lyrics painted fuzzy and blurry in the background. The song is articulated in a weird and fun way that keeps it interesting while being artistically thoughtful, and it’s here where I think VEDA shows a clear love for the genre they take heavy influence from but also shows they’re eager to carve out their own place within the sound.
Some jumps in sound from one song to the next can be jarring and I found it hard separating the songs in the middle of the album and choosing highlights- instead of clarity in the different sounds and themes from song to song, the inherent nature of the genre VEDA is leaning into makes songs sometimes hard to distinguish from each other. I think VEDA could let the songs breathe for a few more seconds at their climax. One example is the fantastic cut “Sadsterdam”, where having the guitars fading out after their final hit rather than a hard cut would serve “Sadsterdam” and it’s proceeding song “My Graveyard Girl” better. The final track “My Graveyard Girl”, which serves as an epitaph for the whole album and ties up the themes and VEDA’s sound really well, has some fantastic guitars and drumming, with VEDAs droning voice holding your hand and taking you through the song with such a brazen and loud gothic attitude. I’ve been listening to the album out of order, and listening to some as singles, and found great diversity in the track-list and themes on the album that I don’t think the album’s order of tracks does justice. A good exception to this rule, however, is the bridge between “Wine & Roses” to “Wish” which works well and the two tracks sit by each other in a mutually beneficial way.
As a final note, the guitar solos on this album and points where VEDA singles out one of the instruments or their vocals and brings them to the front of the song were fantastic moments on the album, and all of the solo instrumentation work fit with each song’s individual character and theme really well, which I feel is a great achievement. It didn’t feel like VEDA was throwing in these parts just for the sake of padding out the songs. VEDA as a solo multi-instrumentalist really doesn’t show off on this album, it’s very honest and humble, but also morose and powerful, and you can hear how VEDA really cares for these songs and you can feel the personal nature of the album shine through the darkness they’ve crafted on all of these tracks, and it’s great to listen to.
Overall VEDA’s debut album is something that I have been wanting to hear for a long time, and I loved listening to it. With such a fantastic debut I’m eager to keep up to date with VEDA and listen to the next set of tracks they decide to release.
FFO: The Cure, Joy Division, Misfits, Motion City Soundtrack, Siouxsie and the Banshees
Review by Jesse Painter