Meat Loving Vegans
Bad Move, Stanley
Bad Move, Stanley is available at:
The album Lost in Fiction is available at:
Bad Move, Stanley– 9.6
Plasticine Dreams– 9.5
The Ballad of Gosport– 9.5
You Ain’t No Dog– 9.6
Together We Stand- 9.5
Goodbye Granda- 9.6
Bad Move, Stanley; Daniella; You Ain’t No Dog; Goodbye Granda
Bad Move, Stanley
Lost In Fiction is the debut album by London formed band Meat Loving Vegans. Recorded mostly in frontman Dex’s bedsit in Lewisham, South London, as well as Lounge Studios in Acton and mates houses in London, Woking and Gosport, Hampshire. FANX.
Released September 19, 2015
© 2015 JSA Records.
All songs written by Dexter Krenal except ‘You Ain’t No Dog’ written by Dexter Krenal and Ben Toon.
Dex – Lead Vocals, Backing Vocals, Guitar, Bass, Drums, Synths, Percussion, Arrangements, Production, Mixing & Mastering.
Clayton Saunders: Backing vocals on track 3.
Maxine Stowe: Backing vocals on track 3.
James Quinn: Keyboards on tracks 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 8 & 9.
Dario Corsetti: Tambourine on track 9.
Corinne Thomas: Backing Vocals on tracks 5, 9 & 10.
Charlotte Hodgson: Backing Vocals on track 10 & Viola on track 7.
Ryan Jones: Backing Vocals on track 9.
Vika Juganzon: Backing Vocals on track 9.
Mathieu Robert: Bass on tracks 4, 5, 7, 8 & 9.
Josh Haynes: Cello on track 9.
Xav Mingus: Backing Vocals on track 10.
Hann Clef: Trumpet on track 10.
Alice Bradley: Artwork.
19 September 2015
FOR the past few days I have been concentrating on…
some rather eclectic sounds and something quite different. Taking me all over the place, it has been great to hear what the music world is offering now. Few can deny the range of music available at the moment, yet it is hard to get a real handle on it and discover all the great acts out there. My featured act are one of the most distinct bands coming out of the U.K. at the moment and offer something quirky and eccentric into their Rock and Alternative motifs. It would be hard to compare them with any other act which raises a few issues: concerning uniqueness of sound, London bands and making a sound that counts. Music is at its very best when the artists involved go the extra distance and separate themselves from their peers. I have bemoaned the lack of originality some artists produce; always depressing to hear, it puts you off investigating that act further. With so much variation and possibility available, why would you want to sound like any other act out there? I can see the temptation of embracing your icons and dedicating your music to them to an extent. When you mimic another act then you are only going to gain a certain amount of respect and fan-base. It is those artists that stand firm and think outside the box that are going to remain in the memory the longest. It is hard to be truly original- a sad fact that is becoming more evident- yet it is paramount in a music world where there are dozens of acts emerging by the week. My featured band have taken that on board and made great strides separating themselves from the pack. That inimitable and odd sound has a strange beauty and a definite heritage to it. Recalling Punk and Rock legends, you will struggle to bring a particular name to mind. Before I continue on my point let me introduce my featured act:
“Meat Loving Vegans are quirky alternative rockers from London formed in May 2015. Eccentric rough-around-the-edges vocalist, guitarist, songwriter and producer Dex fronts the band, and keyboard virtuoso James, madman genius composer Matt hammers the bass and insanely artistic drummer Sam complete the infectious line-up.
The band’s debut album Lost In Fiction was made over 4 months in 2015, and released 19th September 2015 on the band’s own label JSA Records. Lost In Fiction was mostly written, recorded and produced by Dex in his bedsit in South-East London, Lounge Studios in West London, a garage studio in Woking and other generous folk’s houses in London and Gosport, Hampshire.
Inspired by the front man’s colour blindness, the image is bright, colourful, clashing and striking, with a power house sound that matches the look. When you go to a Meat Loving Vegans gig or listen to a recording, prepare for in your face, engaging, and genuine tales of English council estate life and debauchery, to heart breaking send offs, sandpapered love songs, and everything in between.
Although the songs are based on rough subjects, ultimately they stand for pulling together with those that matter to make the most out of what you’ve got. Even if it’s not a lot”.
London is holding a lot of great bands at the moment and it is always great to hear an act so unique. When you consider how many musicians are coming through at the moment (in London) it is challenging filtering them down to the very best. Being a fan of Los and the Deadlines and a few other London stunners, I am always keen to add to the portfolio. When encountering Meat Loving Vegans they strike me as an act that is not concerned with following others or fitting into any moulds at all. There is so much lyrical and thematic variation in their sound they are restless and never sit still. The subject matter ranges from social issues to love without stopping for breath. When you listen to the vocals and instrumentation it is clear these boys mean business. There is an urgency and passion I have not heard in a while; a real drive and sense of attack. When it comes to producing harder and heavier sounds a lot of contemporaries do not consider emotion and atmosphere. Too concerned with filling quotas and trying to fit into expectations, so many bands negate the importance of sonic depth and invention. Meat Loving Vegans’ sounds are meaty and raw; they are vibrant and rugged. Whilst no two songs sound the same, there is so much variation and colour to be discovered. Their Lost in Fiction album is testament to the band’s range and talent. A record packed full of tantilising offerings and fast-paced gems they are emerging as one of the country’s most promising bands. When it comes to 2016 and seeing which acts are worth following, you can be sure eyes will be trained to Meat Loving Vegans. Although their social media numbers are on the rise, they are one of these bands that will get true recognition in time. The artists that show originality and something unusual are those that are going to stand the test of time. Too many modern bands and acts lack diversity and a unique voice; the likes of Meat Loving Vegans are given the scene a much-needed injection of quality.
I chose to focus on Bad Move, Stanley as it’s the album’s lead-off track and the first experience of Lost in Fiction. The song begins with bubbling and computer game-like electronic pips that go into meaningful and pioneering guitars. That combination is quite a dizzying and nice touch that gets you invested straight away. Just as you guess where the song is headed you get a rampant and Blues-inspired guitar pattern that takes it in a new direction. Graveled and masculine, the notes strike through the speakers and give the song some emotional punch and urgency. When our lead arrives at the microphone, his voice is filled with sarcasm-cum-direction as he is laying-into the central figure. Stanley is letting people dictate his life and is “bank account friendly”. Perhaps too soft and naïve for the world, it seems people are stomping him and getting into his business. The “vampires” of life are creeping into his life and making him a different person. A song that implores (the hero) to toughen and change his ways, you cannot help but sympathise for the lead. With odd phrasing like “sonic letter” it is a song that mixes real-life with something more oblique and strange. In the initial stages the vocal pace and sound remains static in its charge and delineation. Backed by a propulsive and gravitational guitar pulls, the percussion and bass guide the song and create something harsh and dangerous. As you go inside the band’s world- and what they are imagining- you get another shift in dynamics. Moving away from the straight-ahead Punk attack of before; you get something more open and breezy. As the chorus comes into life, important questions and concerns are asked. Our man asks when serenity will come to him. Tired of living off a “can of beans” it seems life is kicking him in the shorts. Having just ascribed Stanley and his inability to make his way in life and you start to dig inside the lyrics. Perhaps putting themselves in the mould of Stanley- the first-persona native of the chorus seems to be about Stanley rather than our frontman- the band asks when Stanley will man-up and take charge. It is a track that does not judge or put the boot in; it implores the hero to rebel against the forces and struggle and find bravery and guts. With a little bit of Blur in the vocals- and the merry swing of the chorus- and you get some British sensibilities and a semblance of the ‘90s. Catchy and compelling, you are powerless to resist the lure and charm the song has. After the diversion into open Pop and rousing vocals, the song goes back to its constricted and rushing sound. Turning a 180-degree skid we are back into Punk territory as our lead is assessing the song’s subject. Stanley needs to speak up and “grow some balls” it seems. Perhaps lacking quite as much empathy as one would hope, the song looks to make changes for the better. The anti-hero is being trodden on and dictated so the words are designed to bring about change. Tired of Stanley being eclipsed and silenced, our lead’s voice is replete with meaning and passion. His words are there to be heard and understood as the band whip a storm behind him. That circling and rousing compositional sound adds meaning, focus and menace to proceedings- the song gets harder and heavier by the second. As the emotions start to rise and swell, you have to wonder whether the song’s central figure will change his ways. The architect of his own downfall, Stanley is being led down a bad road it seems. As the lyrics end and the music takes charge you start to root for the hero. It is quite sad to see someone being dictated and controlled; especially so here as the suffocation and potency grows as the song develops. Whether it is a group of people (controlling Stanley) or society in general you get a real sense of dread and concern. In the final moments, the opening lines are reintroduced and a final chance to hear the band stick it to Stanley.
Rich with musical invention and depth you have a song that shows how good Meat Loving Vegans are. That Punk-styled vocal is direct and compelling throughout. The entire band is in-step and tight from the beginning to end and Bad, Move Stanley is the highlight from Lost in Fiction. The lyrics are filled with wit and venom; motivation and kick to inspire change in the hero. A subject and scene we can all relate to, there is a sense of poignancy and patheticness to the subject. A man (Stanley) being trodden-on and dictated, you cannot help but feel sorry for him. The band ensure Stanley gets the message and tries to change his ways as the sonic assault rarely lets up. Never predictable and one-dimensional, the composition switches from focused Punk to something richer and more colourful (in the chorus). Reminding me of the likes of Blur, Sex Pistols and The Clash and you have something quintessentially British with a universal skin. Tremendous and raw production allows the song to electioneer with full force and it is a track that will prompt you to come back and reinvestigate. The lead-off and stand-out from Lost in Fiction, you cannot ignore the quality of Bad Move, Stanley. With so many British bands suffering lack of inspiration and direction, it is wonderful to hear an act vibrant and original. Plenty of nuance and depth can be heard and it will appeal to a wide range of music fans. A song to blow away autumn cobwebs, make sure you check this gem out.
Being a new listener to Meat Loving Vegans I am pleased to hear a band that dares to be a little different. They are not a divisive and ‘quirky’ band in a bad way at all. What the guys do is stand apart with regards their sound but have a ubiquitousness and familiarity too. Uniting the classic sounds of Punk and Rock, the compositions will strike an ear with those that really love their music. With subject matter address key social issues and universal love, the band has a wide and striking palette. I opened by stating how originality is waning and how few bands are going that extra mile. Perhaps concerned with getting to mainstream level- and copycatting their idols to achieve this- the marketing strategy of artists is a little baffling. The best way to gain long-term success is not to replicate the sound of (already established) acts but go the other way and do something new. It is hard to be completely unique- given the sheer mass of other acts and how surprise is harder to achieve- but it doesn’t take a lot to stand aside from the crowd. What Meat Loving Vegans do is synthesise bygone bliss with something very modern and relevant. Their raw and passionate aesthetic boasts some determined and urgent vocals; compositions that pack nuance and emotion, yet never make proceedings too downbeat or unexciting. Every track and moment resonates with strength and force; that crucial ingredient that gets the listener involved and motivated. The capital is showcasing some of the country’s best and brightest bands, so it is no surprise to hear another (great one) come through. Lost in Fiction is a collection of songs designed for the youth of today. Tapping-into a rich vein of conscientiousness and awareness, the boys should be very proud of their achievement. It is not often you get a band that balks ‘tradition’ and distinguishes themselves so. I have heard enough acts that put me in mind of others and simply do what everyone else does. Those that take the time to think of something personal and original are always the best to follow. It is just left for me to assess the band’s future and give a small assessment of the album. It is no lie to say the band will be ones to watch as we go into 2016. Although they do not have a huge army of social media acolytes yet; this will change given time. They are quite a new act and are still spreading the gospel across the Internet.
Plasticine Dreams is a catchy and upbeat stomper that has some elements of The Clash and Blur in its sound and vocal flair. One of the album’s more strained and melodic efforts, it is a distinctly British sound. Looking at a man that leaves a fight with a “cut-up eyebrow” and a girl rebelling against her parents, we get mini-scenes from modern life. The lyrics have an oddity and peculiarity but strangely they resonate with familiarity and reality. From questions about life in space to dancefloor mellays, the song scans across the horizons and introduces us to some wonderfully engaging scenes and figures. That central sound puts me in mind of Modern Life is Rubbish-era Blur and The Clash’s debut album. One of the album’s highlights, it is a song that is hard to ignore.
The Ballad of Gosport has some Dylan-esque harmonica amidst a serene and romantic sound that gets you hooked and seduced. With our lead offering that distinct and accentuated vocal, you have a song that looks at the misery and boredom of Gosport. Being from a town and area that I hate (shall not mention it) I can relate to the song’s core and themes. Few bands really tackle home-town/local boredom with such humour and verve. Combining underpinnings of Punk with Pop and Indie sensibilities it shows a different side to the band. The guys always showcase humour and wit in their song; this number seems to be one of the most urgent and personal. You can hear that fatigue and dissatisfaction of the “dodgy market stalls”. The people on the dole are crowding the doorways and the people seem dead-eyed and lifeless. Whether the Gosporters (if that is the collective noun for them) agree or not, it has made me curious (as to what the area is like). A song that sticks in the mind long after it has finished, Meat Loving Vegans leave you with a smile for sure!
You starts with some bubbling bass before mutating with blissed-out and buzzed guitar. The vocal is distorted and buzzing as we look at a central figure- the ‘you’ of the song. A martyr for their cause and a real self-flagellating figure, the person is in danger of alienating themselves. I get the impression the band are addressing a mutual contact as you cannot deny the conviction and menace in the voice. The song never relents its determined down-dressing and warning. Should they not heed this advice (the subject) is going to burn bridges and end up alone. We all know someone that flails against common sense and logic. The song has a great bounce and addictiveness to it that means you will go back and witness the song with new vigour. Catchy and vigorous, it is one of the album’s shorter numbers; it never seems to escape the mind. That stunning and meaningful lead vocal is impassioned and strong; the composition ducks and dives with purpose. A beautifully British Punk excursion, you are hooked by the intergalactic strings and bursts of life.
Darlin’ is a calm and romantic thing to begin with. A passionate and heartfelt song; it showcases the earnest and purity of our lead’s voice. Laying his thoughts on the line, it is an upbeat and wonderful song that sees the band at their breezy and urgent best. That punching and pressing beat drives the song and gives it a real heart and soul. The song soon develops into something a little frayed and wracked as the couple begins to squabble. Harking to better days- and when they were at their happiest- the love has turned a little sour. Protesting for peace and common ground, our man wants to rekindle that spark and unity.
Why? begins with some yearning and languid strings that creates a woozy and romantic setting. Showing some Alternative/Indie shades, it is a teasing and tender thing that soon builds upwards. Imbued with Funk and Soul leanings, it flourishes and expands as the seconds tick. A punctuation point for the album, it is a great instrumental that showcases how diverse and stunning the band. Bringing in some cosmic and quirky electronics- together with a busy and restless beat- and the song keeps expanding and campaigning. So much colour and life is brought in without a word being song. You can imagine your own scenes and fill in the gaps. Vivid projections and ideas come in and you can paint your own picture. One of the album’s most impressive outings, it sees the band step away from the microphone and demonstrate what intelligent and tight musicians they are.
Daniella gets off to a woozy and scratchy start. Hazy riffs then mutate into something melodic and upbeat. The percussion and merry vibes spar with that head-hurting wooze that leads to our frontman’s vocal. The song looks at a hero trying to write a love song (for Daniella you’d imagine). Our frontman has ruined it and sabotaged the effort it seems. The soon-to-couple are being put under the microscope. Whether a former love of our hero, he is laying down some home truths. With her new fella, their idea of romance is getting “high in Camden town”. The two are embarking on an unwise romance that will obviously end quite badly. The song’s heroine is not someone that would score most love songs; she seems to be one of life’s less attractive and appealing humans. Our hero pisses over their bonfire and offer that wit and humour you expect from the band. Whether the new couple ended up happily- you’d imagine not really- you are gripped by the story. One of the album’s most full and brilliant compositions, the musicianship and sound is incredible.
You Ain’t No Dog kicks off with a primal and heavy slam. The guitars are tormented and menacing from the outset. One of the album’s heaviest and most concrete songs, the guitars chug and fight their way through. Our lead’s voice is at its most spiked and political. Asking us- and the people in general- if they are a “valued human being” there is a definite campaign at work here. Are we valued and looked-after by our government? Recalling the sound of Sex Pistols and their Punk snarl you get some gloriously additive strings and riffs. Catchy and head-spinning it is a song that never relents it grasp. Not a dog that should be kicked or overlooked, it is a track that rebels against suffocation and inequality. Fight against societal ills and stresses; rally against the horrors of government and imbalance. One of the best things about the song- aside from the chugging guitars and determined vocals- is that central message. Showing another side to their songwriting; we have gone from love and ill-advised relationships to something modern-Britain and political.
Together We Stand gets off the ground with romance and tenderness. That harmonica and serene string work leads to an aching and passionate central vocal. The song looks at those that feel stuck and being empty. If there is no one to catch you while you fall; we are all standing in this together. One of the album’s purest and most tender offerings, you cannot help but be swept along. You can hear that love and urgency in the vocal as our man puts his heart on his sleeve. Whether addressing a particular friend, he is sending out positive vibes and inspirational messages. Without cynicism and irony it is a track that compels you to sign along in unite. Showing how much soul the band has, it is a nice contrast from their most angered and edgier numbers.
The album finishes with Goodbye Granda. One of the longest and more widespread tracks on the album, it begins with an atmospheric and cinematic introduction. Washing waves and the call of the sea; we evolve into some romantic strings and something quite soothing. Mixing elements of Funk and Indie into the agenda, it is another pure song that lays its emotions on the line. Perhaps another dear friend and comrade; our hero puts his voice into the fray with a heartfelt and direct plea. Mixing wordless vocals with some of the band’s most emotive lyrics (“Can’t we have more time?”) and you get a sad and reflective end to the album. Like Blur’s This Is a Low, it is a sweeping and memorable number that addresses something quite haunting. In the midst of remembrance and longing, you get plenty of energy and fantastic music. Granda is being given a fitting send-off as the song mixes spoken vocals and some enflamed and passionate highs. The band brings in some aching and choir-like backing vocals to bring the album to a terrific and wonderful close.
With a name like Meat Loving Vegans it is no shock the band is contradictory and diverse. The album does not just rest on pure Punk and force. From the scintillating opening to the passionate and emotional closing coda; you get a wealth of music diversions and colour. Pop and Funk go into Soul and Indie. It is a restless album that never suffers inconsistency and weakness. Every track stays in the mind and compels you to come back for more. One of the finest albums I have heard this year, the London boys deserve a much larger fan-base. Given recent news in Paris- with regards the terrorist attacks and atrocities- we need to embrace something hopeful and positive. Lost in Fiction has taken my mind somewhere safer and given me a chance to appreciate one of our finest bands out there. Few can deny how dedicated and direct the band are throughout the album; the songwriting is so strong and focused at every turn. It is not just the compositions that stick in the mind but everything about the music. The lyrics mix wit and purity with something oblique and strange. The vocal work is direct and impressive throughout and the band has such a connection and tightness to them. If you have not heard Meat Loving Vegans I cannot recommend them highly enough. An act (and album) you need to hear; make the day better and brighter and discover…
ONE of the U.K.’s finest young acts.
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