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Tuesday 24 October 2023

Vast Robot Armies - The What Gallery


The What Gallery is a wonderful album, a wonderful Indie Rock album and it made me realise that Indie Rock has suffered with coverage here. This is partly because other genres have welcomed candidates in. Pop Rock, Psych Pop, Prog, Classic Rock and Alt Rock have sucked up albums that would have been Indie Rock and left behind the feeling that the genre is just one paced, one mediocre style and nothing more to shout about.

Vast Robot Armies sound more than a little 90s at times, but that in no way tells their story or style. They can get a little Alt Rock, but also there are bits where they head towards a less bombastic Muse and even hint at Modern Prog. 

I've read other reviews before putting pen to paper and although I agree with all the praise, the majority that I've read have all been overblown. All reinventing the wheel and showing how knowledgeable and clever the writer is. They may know a lot of long words, but they miss the sheer joy of the album.

Firstly, despite all the complex melodic excellence on show, the real take here are the splendid vocal arrangements. A mixture of combined harmonies and cross over vocals that are arranged in a way that this sort of album would never usually contain. These vocals are a revelation.

Instrumentally, the album excels too. There has obviously been so much time and effort been spent with the production and arrangements that it has allowed the mix of styles to underline how all encompassing The What Gallery is.

Songs can be built on riffs or rely on killer solos, but all remain incredibly melodic and versatile. Take a song like Penny Candy which is dying to be Pop Rock, but instrumentally it is sidetracked into Psych and Prog. This is the band's strength, no song is as it seems.

Unusually, I have not picked out the songs especially. This is because I know that IDHAS followers have open minds and will go off and listen to what Vast Robot Armies have delivered. You will have heard a couple of the songs on Listening To This Week playlists. This is an album to be listened to from start to finish and what a great listen it is.

You can listen to and buy the album here.


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