Sun Kills Vampires is the debut LP from Brighton trio Van Coeur whose minimal percussion, hushed vocals and interweaving guitar sound has been likened to alt-rock mainstays Slint and Do Make Say Think. Stark and captivating, lots of lo-fi layered feedback and static hiss can also be expected...
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Seaside post-rockers Van Ceour have received comparisons to guitar-mumblers Do Make Say Think, which is fitting, because I’ve always thought of Brighton as the Canada of the United Kingdom. They’ve also been compared to Slint a lot, which is also fitting, but for a real reason: they actually sound like those dudes. Between whispered vocals and equally whispered guitars, ‘Sun Kills Vampires’ is a gloomy collection of slowly sinking songs that have just enough mathy technicality to rationalise the sorrow they’re drowning in. This isn’t your feel-good, rise and speak post-rock; it’s the kind where all the panic and unrest remains, free of that useless thing we call catharsis. Who needs it?
It starts with an unholy assault of whining hiss, but ‘Sun Kills Vampires’ soon relents and reveals itself as morbidly slow collection of songs that are too distraught to ever reach their climaxes. The first side of this record circles back on itself constantly, allowing the band’s lyrics to be slowly extracted in tragic whines that envy Efrim Menuck’s sheepish howl. A fair comparison would actually be A Silver Mt Zion having their backs patted by Low -- the guitars struggle to gain traction and the drums are splintered, and so Van Ceour rarely end up anywhere. Their brand of slowcore is even more lonesome than Alan Sparhawk and Mimi Parker’s, though -- there’s rarely a comforting vocal melody to clear the air.
It sounds depressing as shit, I’ll give you that, but Van Ceour mine a certain dingy beauty out of their record. “Ships” has tangible strands of the emo American Football used to peddle -- the band anthologize old memories of good summers and happier times, taking the nostalgia and throwing it into a sea of shit. “Ships” actually ascends to an exceedingly brief climax, a piece of post-rock shredding that recalls “Don, Aman” but done way quicker. It sounds like they can hardly bear that monolithic moment, which isn’t great news for a post-rock band, but Van Ceour make it work. Their dourness is rather pretty.
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