Moving On by VVomenRelease date: July 21, 2017
Broadly defined, punk rock as a movement has lost touch with a lot of the core intimacy that defined earlier manifestations. One spaced out 4-piece from Marysville, CA however, VVomen seek to change that perception in their debut EP, Moving On.
When Mike Muir of Suicidal Tendencies pleads with his mother for a Pepsi, that sentiment is delivered with heartfelt emotion, genre-defining disillusionment and, well, enough thirst to make me dive into the fridge and look for the blue can. Anyone who has listened to 1983’s ‘Institutionalized’ even more than thirty-years later becomes acutely aware that the song’s subject is not well in the head.
A similar sense of urgency and conviction oozes from the vocal delivery on Moving On, it’s raw and less comprehensible, but at every turn its singer has reached the end of his rope… and often finds that he is dangling precariously from it. A lot of contemporary punk artists could take a page out of this book. What pisses you off wounds you personally and few bands convey that like VVomen. While none of the content is as immediate as the by now notorious can of Pepsi, there is no doubt a genuine human being is in search of the elusive answer at core.
Instrumentally, VVomen try and pack a lot into their six-song EP, beginning with a strident, garage flavored punk rock on the two opening track, ‘Catching Flies’ and ‘Cadence And Carousel’ which exhibit ferocious energy and an adherence to the vocals to an air of experimentation. Everywhere on Moving On it feels as though the punk instrumentation takes a back seat to the vivacious, axe-to-grind singing. Are VVomen just a backing band? Or are they a collective? Nowhere on these six tracks does the band land in one camp or the other. They break out a little funky on ‘Lessons In Humility’ the EP’s strongest, most forwardly accomplished track. And on this, I’m able to follow the vocalist’s train of thought, which is, bravura, refreshing. Other than on ‘Blue Prints’ where the band earns their description as post-punk, a track that dials down to mid-tempo, vocals becoming spoken word rather than breathlessly chasing spastic beats, there isn’t much in the way of innovation or experimentation.
The landscape for this kind of raw, confessional oriented punk is not quite as verdant as it was before; until that is remedied, there will always be a hole in the genre. Despite the scarcity of artists like VVomen though, their debut EP isn’t exactly a release to bust a gasket over. If this is already your jam, you’ll love Moving On, but if it’s not, you may be best suited racing on down the speedway for an old red, white and blue can of soda.