Damn Vandals: Done For Desire

Swaggering Brits fail to pack a real punch on their debut.

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Put simply, snappy pop rock is the musical flavour that Damn Vandals deal in for their much-hyped debut. With 10 songs, all under five minutes and many under three, they conduct a hybrid of punk, psychedelic pop and radio-friendly rock with a distinct echo of Britpop.

But while there’s nothing offensive or ear-wrenching about this offering, Damn Vandals fail to pack a powerful punch, with songs blending together rather than standing on their own.

The album’s highlight and what simultaneously pushes it forward while giving it an edge are the vocals of frontman and guitarist Jack Kansas. His rich, deep warble and rock-star sneer that you can envision just from hearing his howls make for such a distinctive sound that it proves to be the most memorable factor of this debut.

Damn Vandals aren’t without potential: their work is polished and there are moments of refreshing experimentation – check out the brilliantly named, electronically dark The Revenge Of Spider Toothy, and the bluesy twang of Trouble With Jesus.

But while the Vandals have the goods, their songwriting could do with some oomph.

Hannah May Kilroy

Hannah May Kilroy has been writing about music professionally for over a decade, covering everything from extreme metal to country. She was deputy editor at Prog magazine for over five years, and previously worked on the editorial teams at Terrorizer and Kerrang!. She currently works as the production editor for The Art Newspaper, and also writes for the Guardian, Classic Rock and Metal Hammer.