Scottish outfit Vukovi have seen a bunch of changes since their self-titled 2017 debut, namely the pairing down from a quartet to a duo.
Now comprised simply of vocalist Janine Shilstone and guitarist Hamish Reilly, they’ve returned with a streamlined approach to their sound with sophomore release, ‘Fall Better’.
With busting synths ushering in the record via ‘17359’, the experimental tendencies of the group are embraced from the get go. Displaying a powerful wall of sound with ‘Violent Minds’, the cut down of members clearly hasn’t hindered Vukovi, and as layers of distortion and synths drip around Shilstone‘s strong vocal performance, the track moves around tight hooks and a breakneck structure with blistering results.
Harnessing their pop capabilities on ‘Aura’ and lead single ‘C.L.A.U.D.I.A.’, the duo show off their innate ability to craft solid melodies, from the swinging chorus and urgent pace of the former to the chant-along coda of the latter. This isn’t to say that they’ve left their punk foundations behind, as the driving breakdown of ‘Aura’ proudly displays. The same can also be said for ‘Behave’, a track that not only boasts a muscular and bouncing riff, but also melds glitched vocals to its post-chorus seamlessly.
After the squealing ‘Verify Your Worth’, the record moves away from the streamlined take on their established sound moves towards a heavier and experimental sound. As ‘All That Candy’ delves into multi-layered vocal harmonies, double-kick patterns, chunky riffs, and swirling synths, Vukovi continue to reveal a new avenue for themselves.
Adding deviation on ‘I’m Sorry’, Reilly alternates between spacious clean melodies and crunching distortion to stretch the record’s dynamic range. The same can also be said with ‘Where Are You’, as the duo deliver a twisted take on a ballad, complete with jagged guitar lines and ascending vocal melodies.
After the shimmering slow burn of ‘White Lies’, ‘Run/Hide’ closes the record with an industrial tinged bang. Complete with driving riffs, stuttering synths, and an urgent backbone, Vukovi display not only a streamlined take on their core sound, but also hint at their potential to take it further.
With ‘Fall Better’, Vukovi have taken their sound and amplified it beyond expectancy. Armed with hooks and an unshakeable song-writing foundation, this duo are primed and ready to explode.