New review: Vulkano
by Holly Combe // 2 February 2014, 18:15
Two previous members of Those Dancing Days, Lisa Pyk-Wirström and Cissi Efraimsson, have now formed Vulkano. Cazz Blase listens to their debut album Live Wild Die Free.
The Stockholm duo Vulkano left their first calling card last year, the synthy post-punk single 'Vision Trick', a song that seemed, musically, more hipster than riot grrrl, despite the copy in the band's press releases. Their debut album, Live Wild Die Free, is released on 3 February and is a confection of post-punk, synth-pop and stroppiness that reveals a lot of talent and imagination, but also some disappointments.
Vulkano are Lisa Pyk-Wirström on keyboards and percussion and Cissi Efraimsson on drums and lead vocals. Paul Lester hails them as Altered Images circa 'Dead Popstars' (i.e. the short lived Banshees period) but I see them as two women with excellent taste, who've been let loose in a musical equivalent of the proverbial sweet shop and are at ease mixing their Gang Gang Dance with their Slits, B52's, CSS and Icona Pop. Pins spring to mind as a group with more swagger, drawing as they do on Brooklyn punk and a CBGB music club vibe, but Vulkano are possibly more subversive, in that you can see them popping up on both the NME tour and Children's BBC, much like a modern day Voice of the Beehive, perhaps.
Album highlights include the excellent 'Choir of Wolves', which opens with the women howling like wolves and also features robotic keyboard riffs, echoing vocals and menacing guitars. There is something akin to Angela Carter's subversive fairytales in the subject matter while, musically, the album's mix of tempos is reminiscent of the aforementioned Slits and CSS. The video has the band chewing away on raw meat while dressed in (I hope) fake fur and Strawberry Switchblade 'esque eye makeup. It evokes the music scene of the early to mid-1980s, but still has the makings of a future classic...
Cover of Vulcano's Live Wild Die Free. This shows a night sky at the top with a small moon (top left) and a large green-topped volcano (middle) erupting a rainbow lava arc that falls to the left and right (bottom) into the hands of a figure in a light blue silk or satin hooded robe, who appears to be an amalgamation of Lisa Pyk-Wirström and Cissi Efraimsson (fringe/forehead/eyes and eyes, nose and mouth). Band name and title in thin yellow font.