What do you think about second albums? To me, generally they are not as good as the first. Well I got news for ya, VA ROCKS, didn’t pay any attention to that as effort No. 2 is just as good as their premiere album, Pull No Punches. While the first one was one of my very favorites of 2017, two years later these ladies have lost zero momentum. In fact, they have stopped, paused to look around at life and have refined and focused their music. Influenced by AC/DC, RAMONES, GIRLSCHOOL with roots in the blues and punk, they slug us with rockin Swedish badassery. Who is this band from Lund, Sweden? On guitar and lead vocals is Ida Svensson Vollmer, on the bass is Klara Wedding and pounding out that beat is Frida Rosen.
I Love VA Rocks is out October 18 on Metalville Records. An interesting title for an album, but I agree! Bringing to light the modern day vexations from social media, and heading the disc is a prelude to the second song with “NMFTG INTRO”. Reminiscent of early AC/DC, a 1:23 sec. call to stand up against the societal bullshit we are all subject to. “No More Fucks To Give” explodes and glosses over with a punky vibe about the shallowness of social media. Recognizable right away is that high powered, but more controlled singing from Ida who is the unmistakable lead vocal sound. Next, get ready for your newest earworm with “Code of the Road”. It’s a mix of their underlying blues and punk roots. I love Ida’s vocals on this track.
“Gonna Get You” should give you that second earworm you were looking for. And if you really want to soak in that Scandinavian blues vibe, check out in fifth position, “Woman”. It could be the anthem for the album. These ladies are the real deal. Although one of the shortest songs, don’t cut them short (and Ida, I like the “chunka, chunka” @ 0:38 secs). Next, and featuring Cim Dahlle from Swedish punk band THE HEADLINES (who are one of my very favorite punk bands), is “Rebel Blood” with her as second vocals/guitar. The song composition is completely different from what they generally put out.
Now to my favorite song, “Hit the Road”. Admittedly, the first time I heard this tune, I thought my phone switched over and was playing THE HEADLINES, yes the same one mentioned previously. It’s a modern, fast-paced melodic punk effort. The girls take turns with the vocal lead. With the “yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah’s” and the “I’m gonna have some fun and get fucked up, ‘cause we’re all gonna die in the end”, it can’t get much more punk than that. I think it might not be a stretch to say the Malmo-based band had a helping influence on this album.
“Romeo and Juliet” is in the number eight spot. This is a rocking fantasy ballad about that doomed relationship that might have been or maybe was? I think we all have that memory about the “one who got away”, sometimes it’s good, sometimes it’s something Oedipus Rex wishes he could poke out his eyes to forget. These are my favorite lyrics on the album. Punking it up again is “Here Comes Trouble”. The trio sound really tight on this one with a preview video on YouTube put out last January. Finishing up the album is “Never In a Million Years”. It’s a nice soothing romantic tune of gratitude for that special someone we might be lucky enough to find, and another demonstration of Ida’s shining vocal ability. Written to a certain Bo, perhaps?.
I Love VA Rocks, as do so many others. They have come a long way since 2017, yet have remained true to their sound. Vocals are better shared amongst all three. I did miss the very strong vocals that were sometimes almost out of control (read “kickass”) in Pull No Punches, but I think overall the songs are more refined and the music is tighter. In typical punk fashion, most songs are under 4 minutes, and it’s a relatively short album overall, but I think the fans are gonna love it. I don’t remember which of my friends turned me onto them, but I’m sure glad they did. Salude’.
STANDOUT TRACKS: “No More Fucks to Give”, “Code of the Road”, “Romeo and Juliet”, “Hit the Road”
-MARK “\M/ETAL \M/ESSIAH” EHRLICH