They say never judge a book, or in indeed a record, my its cover, but occasionally it is exactly the right thing to do. Take the cover of Wild Insane where we see, presumably one of the duo, looking like Nick Cave striking an Andrew Eldritch pose through that visual balance of futuristic gloss and dystopian intrigue that Gary Numan revelled in. And that isn’t a bad place to start. It conjures a sense of digital modernity meeting dark post-punkery, something both emotive yet clinical, human yet…other. That is pretty much what Vandal Moon deliver, so books and covers…yeah, sometimes it works.
It is very easy when writing about such bands to constantly use the 80’s as a reference point, and whilst based on the sounds emanating from this album you could have a pretty good stab at what’s in the band’s record collection, this is no mere wistful backward glance. After the punks had kicked down the barriers they moved on, the rules were gone and people were looking to create a new musical future. Vandal Moon are the heirs to that vision, not slaves to its history.
Wild Insane is fiercely of its time, this time, and though it is easy to see where it comes from, where it is going is the real point here. It is wonderfully forward-facing, its glamorous sleek minimalism, pristine synths, alternative disco reclamation, shimmering and chiming riffs, and clinical beats all pointing to a new way of approaching dance music. The Bomb being the perfect blend of past, present and future, modern and brooding pop standing on the shoulders of giants and reaching for the digital stars and Computer Loves reminds Depeche Mode that life isn’t so dark after all..okay it is but maybe all the drugs and alcohol didn’t always help their cause.
Vandal Moon is the musical lingua franca for anyone trying to marry commercialism with creativity, past with future, darkness with euphoria. Contradictions are only a problem when they don’t sit well together, here the opposites attract and it all makes perfect sense.