Vukovi’s third EP, Sweet Swears, crashes open with a riff that wouldn’t seem out of place on Rage Against the Machine’s debut. A few bars of involuntary headbanging later and the instruments fade just enough to let Janine Shilstone’s powerful pipes take centre stage. By turns vulnerable and belting, Shilstone’s voice is a crucial component of the sound. Unsurprisingly, they’ve been compared a lot with another female fronted group, but while EP opener ‘He Wants Me Not’ makes it easy to see why, Vukovi’s trademark loud-soft-loud-soft shtick owes as much to the Pixies as it does to tweenpunks Paramore. Plus Vukovi’s songwriting has always been far more sophisticated, especially for a band still to release their first album.
What really stands out is how happy the four piece are to mix snatches of unashamed pop with off-kilter rhythms, crooked song structure, dark melodies and crunchy as fuck guitar. And I’m loathe to lump bands together as some ‘scene’ for geography’s sake, but I couldn’t stop hearing Glasgow stalwarts Sons & Daughters in the bare drums and vocals of ‘Thick Skinned’. More so than on previous releases, there’s a tad more musical acknowledgment of the band’s West Coast roots. Also, Vukovi are some of the most attractive musicians to come out of my malnutritioned hometown in some time. I’m a bit in love.
You can listen to and buy the album on bandcamp now.