EP Review: The Van T’s – Laguna Babe
Posted by Nina Glencross
There’s a certain something special about twins in bands, isn’t there? Take, for example, The Breeders, Tegan and Sara, even our own Biffy Clyro and The Proclaimers. There seems to be a special bond between these band mates who’ve already spent their whole lives together. Glasgow’s The Van T’s are no exception and their strong debut EP Laguna Babe further proves this idea that having your twin sibling by your side in your band can lead to some awesome results.
Sisters Hannah and Chloe Van Thomson lead the surf rock 4-piece, enlisting Joanne Forbes on bass and Shaun Hood on drums to help them perfectly execute their genre- and decade-hopping music, as evident throughout the new record. Similarities to fellow Weegie noisemakers Honeyblood are definitely evident – amped up guitars, solid, captivating vocal delivery and a penchant for 90s grunge – but the twins’ music harks back even further to 50s rockabilly and 60s surf and garage rock, not to mention the subtle goth and post-punk elements à la Bauhaus, The Cramps and The Cure.
As with all good openers, lead single Growler sets the tone for the EP and establishes The Van T’s slick and entrancing sound with moody guitar and lyrics lamenting the superficial complexities of teenage relationships. Laguna gives the false impression of a more subdued effort before morphing into one of the most upbeat tracks on the record, alongside follow up Feel, Touch, Feel. There’s an unmistakable energy between Hannah and Chloe as they shift effortlessly between singing in unison, harmony and spoken word together.
Closer Another Sun is very reminiscent of the recent influx of 90s revival outfits, especially bands like Wolf Alice. It’s a bright, sunny end to an otherwise delightfully dark and sleazy record, showing yet another side to this multi-dimensional band, in the form of their love for pop.
Nostalgic yet thirst-quenchingly fresh, it’s brilliantly executed surfgaze for sure. But their gaze here is not planted on some overloaded pedal board. Oh no. Instead, they’re staring dead in the eyes of each and every listener, blinking only on the final strum of a reverb-smothered guitar.
Having already played T In The Park, Wickerman and Electric Fields, Laguna Babe only proves something which everyone already knew: The Van T’s are set for big things.