The dirty South has never sounded quite as dirty as on Vulture Whale’s basic and vicious eponymous debut. With British Invasion spunk mixed into their story-driven lyrics of such diverse topics as days at the beach and politicians on the run from police, Vulture Whale has rock energy in spades, with plenty of imagination to spare.
Clocking in at only 40 minutes, Vulture Whale is brief and loud, like all good punk. It doesn’t have the edge of must punk, however—although singer Wes McDonald has an angry and whiny tenor that cuts through the distortion like a chainsaw, it’s tempered with an innocence that recalls a childhood in a small town. Highlights include “Thought Eyes,” a twitchy and spastic dance-rock feast, and “Sugar,” the closest this album gets to a love song. There’s not a slow moment on the 11 songs here, and it’s this consistency and relentless energy that keeps the album strong throughout.
Vulture Whale is an admirable piece of no-frills rock music. From its charmingly off-key vocals to the frantic tambourine shaking in the background, the details are what make this record a charming and refreshingly naïve slice of garage rock. It’s highly recommended as an antidote for your back-to-school blues.
In A Word: Whack-a-mole