Tuesday, February 21, 2023

The Van Pelt - "Image of Health"

The Van Pelt are one of those bands I remember from my college radio years, but mostly more in name than anything else. But, that's the way it seems to be with legendary indie rock bands. The New York City band are set to release their first new album in twenty six years, and there's a new single we can check out from that album. "Image of Health" is just pure post-rock and post-hardcore. I seem to remember The Van Pelt getting lumped in with a lot of late 90's emo bands, but "Image of Health" is much more along the lines of Mogwai and Slint than The Promise Ring. This is spoken word over some of the most lovely indie guitar rock you've heard in years, and it sounds like it could have come straight off 1997's Sultans of Sentiment. It may be a little slower and more mellow than The Van Pelt were in their heyday, but not by much.

Frontman Chris Leo says of his band's new music:

"I'm a middle-aged man now. Straightforward, cutting to the point dialogue speaks much more to me than circuitous lofty rants. I knew a lot when I was young and what I didn't know I wasn't afraid to propose as arguments in unwinnable fights for the sake of pushing discourse into novel realms. Now that I'm halfway through a century though, there's been this need in me to touch home base, revisit basic tenets with wiser eyes and a worldview humbled by it being smashed to pieces over and over again. So many of my modern lyrics need no Cliff's Notes. They are so clear and direct that they only require the listener to bring their own humble vulnerability to the table as well. Addressing these lifelong elephants in the room feels more apt to me at this stage in life than dissecting astrophysics." 

You can listen to "Image of Health" below. Artisans & Merchants is due out March 17 on Spartan Records, and can be pre-ordered through Bandcamp. For more on The Van Pelt, check out the band on Facebook and Instagram.

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