Pop album for experimental act

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A BAND influenced by groups such as fearsomely uncompromising no-wave pioneers Swans might seem unlikely candidates to record a pop album, but that is exactly what Vukovar has done.

The three-piece, brought together by Wigan musician Rick Clarke, travelled to the Isle of Man to record debut full-length Emperor with Phil Reynolds and found the sessions taking an unexpected direction.

The album’s 11 tracks sees the group, whose line-up also includes Welsh musician Dan Shea and drummer Buddy Miller, take a more upbeat direction with the songs featuring samples and guest vocals alongside the band’s core sound of guitars and synths.

However, the lyrics remain as fiercely intelligent and distinctive as ever with Vukovar, named after a town in the Balkans where a massacre of Muslim citizens took place, even explaining their beliefs in an essay which accompanies Emperor.

Dan, 23, said: “Our sound is in a state of flux, our first songs were quite rough but the ones on Emperor are a lot more polished.

“We went to the Isle of Man and it turnd into a spangly pop album.

“It’s not quite what you’d expect from a band influenced by Swans and Throbbing Gristle.

“But we are really pleased with it.

“I also think it’s a shame there’s so little music being made which reflects the reality of our times, the worst economic situation in recent memory.

“I’m also very concerned about the demonising of certain groups in society which I think has worrying parallels in history, and that’s what the song Regular Patrons of the Salon Kitty is about.

“It’s important for a band which can be articulate to write a manifesto.

“We’ve got to make it very clear where we stand so we’re not on the wrong side of history.”

Vukovar has already penned the follow-up album to Emperor, which is currently called Voyeurism and is set to be released at some point next year.

The band has chosen its song New World Order as the lead single from Emperor and a video for it directed by underground film-maker Venison Lamprey is available now on Youtube.

Emperor, by Vukovar, is out now and is available to buy on a name-the-price basis as a download or as a hand-made CD at https://vukovarsmallbear.bandcamp.com/album/emperor.