The Vacant Lots' Interzone: the perfect stun-blast soundtrack for a shattered society

Society-lacerating third album Interzone from Vermont electro-punks The Vacant Lots

The Vacant Lots - Interzone
(Image: © Fuzz Club)

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When the first 45s by Vermont industrial post-punk duo The Vacant Lots started appearing in 2011, they seemed to seize a rock-mauling torch passed down through the years from Velvets to Suicide to Spacemen 3. 

A proud lineage clearly confirmed when S3’s Sonic Boom mixed 2014’s Departure debut and their instant artistic rapport with Suicide’s Alan Vega spawned a joint single and saw his inimitable snarl grace 2017’s Endless Night.

Its title referencing William Burroughs and Joy Division’s Unknown Pleasures ditty, Interzone sees Jared Artaud and Brian MacFadyen (joined by Vega’s borrowed Arp synth) refining their sound into seductive stadium-industrial mutants, evoking White Wedding-era Billy Idol on Exit and 80s electro-goth on Endless Rain, coating Rescue’s light-sabre riffs with Stooges guitar mayhem, and underpinning tracks (notably scabrous Vegasashay Station) with Marty Rev-like beat-box tattoos.

With Artaud’s vocals bathed in bottomless reverb (reaching their apogee on post-apocalypse slowie Party’s Over), ostensibly catchy songs harbour his bleak lyrics tackling isolation, escape and modern decay. 

As he says, it’s “like existing between two zones”. Eight short, sharp shocks in 30 minutes provide a perfect stun-blast soundtrack for today’s shattered society.

Kris Needs

Kris Needs is a British journalist and author, known for writings on music from the 1970s onwards. Previously secretary of the Mott The Hoople fan club, he became editor of ZigZag in 1977 and has written biographies of stars including Primal Scream, Joe Strummer and Keith Richards. He's also written for MOJO, Record Collector, Classic Rock, Prog, Electronic Sound, Vive Le Rock and Shindig!