RVG – ‘Feral’ review: Melbourne post-punks spin tales of heartache, confusion and overwhelming love

The four-piece have taken a major step up on album two, which puts the world to rights with a swagger

RVG’s 2017 debut album was made for $150 and sounded like it was held together with safety pins and good intentions. Scrappy, sincere and bursting with rugged pain, the post-punk, eight-track ‘A Quality Of Mercy’ felt as though it could come apart at the seams at a moment’s notice.

Three years later, and with headlining and international tours – plus support slots with Pixies and Faith No More – under their belt, the Melbourne indie scamps are back with the forward-thinking ‘Feral’. “We’re just not the same any more,” sings frontwoman Romy Vager on the surprisingly jubilant ‘I Used To Love You’. Truer words have never been spoken.

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While their debut was fuzzy and full of nervous urgency, RVG snarl and strut through the more assured ‘Feral’. Opener ‘Alexandra’, which sounds like London post-punk urchins Shame knocking about with The Smiths, takes the anger and confusion of a divisive, post-Trump world and lets it burn. It’s a song about oppression and the struggle to remain fearless in the face of uncertainty. RVG know that “they set fire to people like you just for looking them in the eye,” but still refuse to hide. That red-hot confidence flows through ‘Feral’.

The buoyant ‘Little Sharky’ sees them dance about like The Cure on a sunny day, while ‘Prima Donna’ packs a punk bite. ‘Perfect Day’ ties softly delivered lyrics (“I only want you to see the things I think you deserve / You’ve got too much going on right now”) with twinkling guitars, before ‘Help Somebody’ delivers a goth disco. On the latter Vager laments that “the rules of the game have changed / Just being nice ain’t good enough these days,” before a dizzying surf-pop breakdown provides comfort in sound.

The 10-song ‘Feral’ bows out with the slow-burning ‘Photograph’. Epic but never indulgent, this tale gradually unravels across its seven-minute runtime, Vager putting the world to rights over blossoming guitars. “The universe is flawed and people make things worse,” she sighs, before acknowledging that this too will pass: “Frame a picture of this moment… Things don’t look as bad in a photograph.”

Snapshots of confrontation, confusion and heartache sit alongside overwhelming moments of pure love. This is the sound of a band coming of age, and ‘Feral’ depicts RVG as the heartbreaking, soul-embracing force for good that they’ve threatened to be from the very start.

Details:

RVG album cover for second studio album Feral

  • Release date: April 24
  • Record label: Our Golden Friend
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