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AAA Music | 2 March 2024

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VAN SUSANS – We Could Be Scenery

| On 10, Jul 2011

Despite the polished sound, We Could Be Scenery is London/Bromley sextet Van Susans’ debut EP. And considering the young nature of the band, and the fact this is their first recording experience, the EP shows real promise.

Van Susans are ultimately a pop-rock band, but the addition of a violinist and keyboardist to the band’s dynamic means that they also encompass the characteristics of folk, Americana and alt-rock. Opener ‘Cha Cha Bang’ is a solid slice of pop-punk, with a massive chorus and heavier guitar parts, while ‘Plans’ incorporates a folk-rock song structure in the vein of Frank Turner – acoustic strumming and all. Running through all five tracks is a strong US alternative influence – think bands like Third Eye Blind and, especially – thanks to the violin – Weekend Excursion (who are still sadly missed). The closing piano-pop-rock ballad of ‘Glow’ will appeal to fans of The Fray, and is certainly accessible enough to allow Van Susans to reach the same dizzying heights of fame as that ridiculously commercially viable band.

It’s frontman Olly Van Andrews’ fine vocals that make this six-piece so likeable, and his lyrics are pretty well written – he adopts a kind of story-telling delivery that makes for engaging listening. He manages to demonstrate a decent range and convey convincing emotion in the short running length of this EP.

We Could Be Scenery is feel good pop-rock, that manages to cram in just enough hooks and emotive sing-a-longs. For a first release, Van Susans should be damn chuffed, but there is certainly room for improvement, with some aspects of the songs – like the melodies and piano parts – sounding a little too cyclical. Plus, The Attika State are doing this brand of alternative pop-rock with more urgency and more pop-impact – but that’s not to say that Van Susans couldn’t catch them up!

Clive Paris Rozario