November 3 2014 (Baltic)
Words: Dave Beech
It's as if these days, any band who's anyone has their own practice room / recording studio / installation space, from the Fat White's in London, to SWAYS Records' 'Bunker' in Salford. And the same can be said for Liverpool's VEYU, who procured their very own arts space, the fittingly named Fallout Factory. Fitting because the band recall mid-80s Manchester as much as they do the same era of their hometown; channelling the bands of Tony Wilson's now infamous label in equal parts to Liverpudlian heroes such as Echo and the Bunnymen.
It seems somewhat trite now, for a band to want their music to be much more than that, but when VEYU say they want "to connect with people on an emotional level...to make music that people want to absorb...” it's entirely believable. Their debut EP, comprised of four tracks, at least two of which will be familiar to those whose interest was piqued by their double A-side 'Running' earlier in the year, is a hazy, introspective affair, awash in melancholy and imbued with an appreciation for the 1980s that runs deeper than the finished product.
Manifested in the subtle reverb and the spacial production, it's this awareness of their influences which allows VEYU to stand out from their peers; they're not just another brooding synth-pop band, though there's both synth and brooding in abundance. The final half of 'The Everlasting', for instance, is a foray in to the realms of post-rock, entirely instrumental, it leaves behind the '80s fuelled first half of the track, seguing in to something far more contemporary, and even optimistic.
Whilst three of these tracks are available already, either online or as a single, VEYU have opted to keep the closing track shrouded in mystery, a surprise for those who have following the band from their outset. At over six minutes long, 'In the Forest' is a track far more suited to an EP than a single release, but the where it lacks in commercial viability, it more than makes up for in the wistful expanse it effortlessly conjures, whilst Chris Beesley's vocals take on more than an air of Morrissey. It's the latter half where the track really comes in to its own however, the band once again utilising an instrumental breakdown to convey feelings of isolation.
Again, it's the band's ability to harness the era of their influences without ever sounding well-trodden or even nostalgic, that sets them apart. Every crisp guitar note, each emphatic drum beat sounds organic and fresh, an impressive feat for a record that also feels as familiar as this. Familiarity isn't strictly a bad thing though, and it's refreshing to hear a band from Liverpool forgo the stereotypical Scouse psychedelia in favour or something more tangible, more real, and ultimately more accessible.