September 24, 2009
Del Black Aloha
2009 | Safranin Sound and Design / Spoilt Victorian Child
Del Black Aloha is Greenpoint alt rockers The Vandelles’ latest effort. This twelve song LP put out by the Safranin Sound and Design collective, and Spoilt Victorian Child in the UK, is the first full length to come from the group, and the record stands to strengthen The Vandelles presence in a Brooklyn scene that has given surf ’n’ reverb revival bands like Vivian Girls and Crystal Stilts nominal success. Del Black Aloha is analogous to Vivian Girls’ Everything Goes Wrong and Crystal Stilts’ Alight at Night in that each song conforms to the band’s cultivated aesthetic and promotes a singular trademark nostalgic reference. The most obvious nostalgic aesthetic that Del Black Aloha references is the scorching distortion and melodic vocals that The Jesus and Mary Chain conjure up on Psychocandy; it’s not reprehensible that The Vandelles sound like Jesus and Mary Chain. It is more a question of their fashioning of a consistent sound that seldom varies. Every track on Del Black Aloha has a comparable sound and structure – in other words, every song has the same haircut. And this is what causes Aloha to flatline. Each song seems to either lyrically or sonically reiterate the previous. Yet, the end product is respectable: a solid pop record for a band with a growing following.
Del Black Aloha’s quizzical name is actually quite referential to its sound: tunes of alternating equatorial sunbeams and thunder cracks. The sucrose songs, “Die For It Cowboy” and “Blue LA Strip,” have sweet I-IV-V chord progressions with white noise distortion. And the tempestuous numbers, “Lovely Weather,” “Roving Rex,” and “Going Downtown,” maintain sharp fuzz and harmonies, gritty minor thirds in the bass, and stomping drums.
More on The Vandelles | Del Black Aloha