Vendetta Red : Between The Never And The Now

Seattle visionaries secure a future for emo

Rock moral: If your cause is just, it doesn’t follow that you need to jump through the hoops of marketeers and stylists. Right now, Hell Is For Heroes are recharging melodic metal with barely a hairdo between them; Cave In restructure rock without a whiff of a Neptunes mix; and Kinesis prove you can be posterboy guerrillas without having to wear eye make-up. In battle-hardened 2003, resilient honour is the new skinny tie, and emo adventurers Vendetta Red are the Grand Wizards of this new normalness. Better still, they rock.

After a gallant three-album apprenticeship in post-Nirvana Seattle, they took the Sony dollar and chose to use it for the forces of good. All the UK’s seen so far is a string of electrifying live shows, but ‘Between The Never And The Now’ proves you can respect them in the morning. You can smell the cash, of course. Singer Zach Davidson glides from soft-focus Dando verses to Kurt-squall outros with hovercraft precision, and you can’t veer between this many genres without a pretty expensive drawing board. But crucially, it’s got soul in spades. Instant anthem ‘Shatterday’ is so uplifting it’s nigh on transcendental, while ‘Opiate Summer’ and ‘Caught You Like A Cold’ show that gymnastic squall-pop didn’t die with At The Drive-In. Songs containing only one melody are as off the agenda as lyrical transparency – the prettiest song, after all, is called ‘Suicide Party’.

Just like the punk of New York, Vendetta Red assimilate their city’s way of making white noise cute into a unit built to last. So you may not want to shag Zach, but after a night on the spliff hanging with this record chatting about love and loss (‘Ambulance Chaser’ shows the sensitive side) you’ll have a new friend in this CD. And no, Vendetta Red won’t change your life; but give ’em a chance and they’ll make your year. Here’s a band from Seattle who aren’t ugly, shit, doomed or dead. If they feel the need to lay some plastic sheeting down at Beelzebub’s gate so as not to get their trainers dirty as they peer into the abyss, we’re not going to hold it against them.

Dan Martin