VA ROCKS is from Lund, Sweden, and these three ladies Pull No Punches (produced by the band and Erik Wiss, out now), which is a fitting title. The band is Ida Svensson Vollmer (guitar and killer vocals), Klara Wedding (monster bass and vocals) and Frida Rosen (pounding skins and vocals). The Scandinavians produce what I wish bands in the States would put out, but alas, we commercialize the hell out of everything and in my opinion, most of it sucks quite frankly. The very first song I heard from these three, I loved it. It is so unique yet so familiar.
I could hear some obvious AC/DC crossed with punk, but when I looked into their information pages, I saw their influences included THE RUNAWAYS and then GIRLSCHOOL (my favorite band of all time). It’s no wonder I love their sound. Probably the first chill up my neck listening to metal vocals was by Mia (Coldheart) Karlsson with CRUCIFIED BARBARA when she sang “Heaven or Hell”. The second time a chill went up my neck was off the first song from this album: “Rockbitch” when Ida screams out “make it, make it time for the show”. Ladies who can hit those freaking high notes give me the shivers.
From the start, “Rockbitch”, percussion and bass guitar pull you in then blast your senses with massive guitar and vocals. It’s only 2 minutes in length, which was a little disappointing because I just get into the song and then it ends, but great while it lasts. Next in line is a killer tune featuring famous Swedish singer Pontus Snibb (well known with band BONIFIDE) titled “Bluesman”. If you could cross, blues, rock and punk together, this is what it would sound like. The band put out the song video in 2014 with Snibb. Along with really tight music, these two harmonize on an incredible home run.
The in-your-face attitude keeps coming with “Kiss This Fist,’ a bluesy number with some good old fashioned rock n’ roll. The ladies have great harmony with chilling Ida vocals. “Play It Like An Animal” slows down the tempo a bit and gives some great advice that when we are playing music, to not screw around, get it done and have a blast…play it like an animal. “Killing Me” kills us with a nice sounding drum beat, rhythmic guitar and killer harmonica. A brilliant southern rock feel.
What has to be my favorite song on the LP is “Rattlesnake.” In downhome southern rock fashion mixed with a dash of AC/DC influence, the ladies give us their version of some killer rock n’ roll with a great foot tapping beat and lots of “na na na’s”. If I were to guess they probably really enjoy playing this one. Getting down to a little unplugged guitar ballad interspersed with tasty harmonics, “Sunday Walk of Shame” is the most mellow tune on the record with and by far the best lyrics. The story seems to be about the morning after an awkward night together only to awaken the next day knowing what happened between the two was not really what it needed to be: real and honest.
“I Wanna Be Your Captain” definitely cranks it up and Ida really hits some exquisite high notes. This has to be a crowd favorite. Lookin’ good now the girls are sporting their “Miami High Heels”. The ladies sing about not “caring if they trip or fall” while showing these off, but they would “look damn good”. OK. I’m a dude……this is definitely a chick song. Finishing up the album is fast-paced “Get Excited” Just a lively and excellent finishing song.
Although I live in Texas, I listen to a lot of Swedish rock and metal. VA ROCKS has a fresh and really welcome sound. They are completely unique from what I’m used to listening to. I honestly don’t know of any other band like them. One thing about Sweden, is they have a huge variety of music. These ladies knock it out of the park with their very own guitar and vocal driven sound. I wish the bass track was a bit more pronounced in several of the faster efforts but it’s all great. Pick this one up guys and gals, you won’t be disappointed. Salude’
STANDOUT TRACKS: ALL OF THEM
Mark “\M/ETAL \M/ESSIAH” EHRLICH