Vulpynes has been a name lurking ever increasingly on my radar – local gig bills and assorted online recommendation rants – until I eventually found myself under the same roof for their Outcasts support slot recently when half the city was still across the river watching the Stranglers. Although this took a dent out of the crowd, it was the perfect situation to see the band playing for the first time – no distractions, no pissing around at the bar, no “some jackass half shouting, half spitting in my earhole as point of conversation” – just undivided attention.
Skepticism about a duo without a bass player erodes very quickly when there is this sort of command over what could just as easily be a tired and worn out formula. To recite a list of comparable bands (who may be of influential note but not really that comparable) would be doing Vulpynes a lazy disservice, not to mention placing them in the unnecessary shadow of some entities that haven’t contributed heartily to music for two decades or more. Such journalistic Styrofoam is strictly for journalists… we prefer to keep it scatological around here!
This self-titled CD EP is the first tangible product from Vulpynes (previously, there have been a couple of single track releases online). The prevailing fundamentals are of volume, attitude, and those wonderful stomping drums. SUBLINGUAL has an urgency and confidence in its swagger – a raw uncomplicated product of proto-punk and its vast progeny. TERRY SAID presents itself as a garage nugget with a snarling vocal line. Immediately apparent is how the mechanics of this band so veraciously read each other. There’s a musical telepathy at play here, specific to duos when they get it right instead of simply being half a band, and this is definitely not half a band. To this end the drumming is immaculate as the no-nonsense spine to everything, serving the material and drawing its primal thud from sources as wide reaching as early 90’s grunge and 70’s glam rock. SILICA is undiluted brassy subterranean punk rock – 2:20 in duration with a superb crunchy guitar sound and extremely confident vocals. To round everything off, OCD is a grinding, cacophonous love letter to malfunction.
There is clearly an aesthetic toward immediacy on this recording – documenting the fundamentals of a wonderfully potent sound that currently exists. There’s little to fault anywhere.
As for what comes next and how Vulpynes is going to progress? This leans primarily on songwriting – as a duo, it’s inescapable. With only 4 tracks here, the future is hard to read. With every air of caution, current “Next big thing” hums and murmurs that surround the band are best given a wide berth in pursuit of longevity and the creation of something really special. And as a stripped back band, a lot of the creativity in future recordings can come from production. Not the sort that glosses this up for a perceived marketplace that doesn’t exist (anymore), but an empathetic development of the wonderful raw symbiosis that is manifest in a duo of this nature. Meanwhile, Vulpynes as a live act will do its own thing naturally and needs absolutely no advice from any fucker on how to go about it!