The Van Pelt – Artisans And Merchants

  • Mark Cartwright posted
  • Reviews
The Van Pelt

The Van Pelt

Artisans And Merchants - Spartan Records/La Castanya Records

The Van Pelt are one of those cult bands that have in layman’s terms a love/hate relationship with the punk fraternity, although fraternity is never a word I would use normally in the punk world, it just reminds me too much of art school nonsense, but anyway it seems to fit here.  They grew up mostly in the mid 90’s when American hardcore was maybe trying to fizzle out a little, and Emo was becoming much more of a mainstream thing.  So where do this band actually fit?, well it was never a scene I bought into at the time, so I would as an outsider looking in, say they are an Indie/Emo crossover of a an outfit.

Now lets jump fully into the here and now, this latest album comes along a full 25 years or so after the last, so can we even sit and make comparisons, I’d say no, this has to be taken for what it is and let it stand out on its own.

The first impressions from diving into the first track ‘We Gotta Leave’ is that these guys are actually even more laid back than a Chaise Long, musically nothing seems urgent at all, yet you get to ‘Images Of Health’ and you definitely feel the lyrical need to cram everything before you die, and maybe this is a statement this album strives for right there in the second track.  Its when you get to ‘Punk House’ that the history of or is this the reminiscing of glory’s past come flooding into the album, a look back at how it was when life was simple yet hard, roads that all looked the same, floors that only felt like a heaven after a skin full beer, this is a song of tours past.

By the time I got to ‘Cold Coconuts’ I was a little confused, this wasn’t emo as this band have been touted to me, this was a band with some moments of melancholy, but this album was also stuffed with a look back at life’s gone, but forward to getting on with it, and musically I felt this was the same too.   

Lastly you get to ‘Love Is Brutal’ and finally the emo hits, but only for someone who’s actually looking for it, personally this was a very long and full on out of body experience of a song, not for the faint hearted. 

A cult band from the past who will most probably stay a cult, and there is nothing wrong in this, its sad when cult becomes mainstream, we need bands like this to balance us all out.

Released on March 17th via Spartan Records (U.S) and La Castanya Records (Europe)

Find the band on its platforms including FACEBOOK BANDCAMP and TWITTER