Album Review: VEGA – Grit Your Teeth

Coincidences can sometimes be pleasant, and I just spotted one right now. As I write this, it’s May 25th, 2020 and I spotted that the last time we covered VEGA was when they opened in Glasgow for the mighty Magnum… on May 25th, 2016. I’m going to take that as a healthy dash of serendipity as I rattle off some words about the band’s upcoming new album.

Given the band they were supporting, it’s obvious that VEGA aren’t going to thrash your neck apart, or conjure up the Dark Lord to take your soul to Hell. What they will do is rock your little socks off with a sound reminiscent of a smaller-scale Def Leppard. For those who don’t appreciate the overblown aspects of the Sheffield act’s sometimes hyper-production, this is no bad thing. It’s that bit more raw, that bit more honest.

The six musicians involved manage to stamp their own mark without treading on each other’s toes, and it’s nice to be able to hear a clear bassline in songs like “Consequences of Having a Heart”, a track the chorus of which had me thinking of the classic “Mad World”. A definite 80s feel to this one, but generally not to the album as a whole. And this is the strength of Grit Your Teeth overall (and something I do look for in an album): variety.

We have toe-tapping slow numbers (“Battles Ain’t A War”), and foot-stomping rockers (“Blind”, “Grit Your Teeth”), and catchy-as-hell bouncy numbers (personal favourite “Don’t Fool Yourself Again” and “How We Live”). The one thing they have in common is quality. This is an album that sounds like it was fun to record as it’s certainly great fun to listen to. A handful on here just scream to be played loud to an appreciative crowd, as they’re laced with sections designed to encourage overhead handclaps and air-punching.

That’s not to say it’s all simplistic. Dig into the lyrics and there are some solid messages in there. “Save Me From Myself”, for instance, stands out in this department as does album closer “Done With Me”.

As we head into the summer months (not that you can tell in Glasgow right now), this is the kind of album you want to be cranking up while you run around your garden trying not to feel claustrophobic.

Header image by Steven Christie

Grit Your Teeth will be released by Frontiers Records on Friday June 12th. All your pre-order links are here.

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