Welsh Music Wednesday #13: The Vestals

THE VESTALS

Band name: The Vestals

From: Newport

This week’s Welsh Music Wednesday feature has been a long time coming. I first saw The Vestals back in 2012 supporting Kids In Glass Houses for their Christmas show at Clwb Ifor Bach. I’d never heard of them before but by the end of their set, they were my new favourites. The Vestals took to the tinsel-wrapped stage dressed in black, fronted by a young Morrissey, donning (more) black nail varnish and a sombre expression, “we don’t have a Christmas song, but we do have a song about Halloween, so we’re going to play that one instead.” This was the moment that I realised I was really going to like this band.

The day after the show, I tracked them down online, desperate to hear the songs that had been echoing in my head since the night before. The Vestals barely existed on the internet at this point, but I later found out that I could pre-order their debut 7″ single, ‘Perfect Pain’ / ‘Seventeen’, through Killing Moon. Released way back in early 2013, both tracks boast intricate melodies, beautiful lyrics and – to put it simply, just damn catchy choruses. A highly impressive debut, most bands take years to craft songs as magnificent as these.

The Vestals followed up the release of their single with a run of live dates; supporting Pure Love on their UK tour and playing a number of their own headline shows and festival slots across the UK throughout the Spring and Summer months of 2013. They celebrated the approach of Halloween season by recording a College cover and an Echo And The Bunnymen cover with Soundtrack Sessions, and soon after announced their last shows of the year, which would take place in Cardiff and London. And then, The Vestals (seemingly) vanished.

Over the years, I’ve learned that The Vestals are notoriously quiet. They like to keep their ever-growing fanbase on their toes by maintaining a secretive image but under the cover of darkness, The Vestals work hard and always re-emerge from the shadows with big news. 2014 brought us the release of The Vestals’ long-awaited EP ‘Life Without Love‘ – the title track being my favourite song of theirs since I first heard it live. The EP opens with ‘Waking Up’ and its soft, evocative synths which slowly ease you in to the next track, ‘Life Without Love’ until the song’s infectious melody kicks in and you’re faced with the uncontrollable urge to dance. The iTunes version of the EP release, features the additional track ‘I Mean The World To No One’ and both versions close with the heart-wrenching Dear Happiness‘. The song opens with a deep, heavy bassline and gradually builds up into typical Vestals-esque melodic guitars and gentle layered synths, but what makes ‘Dear Happiness’ stand out is the lyrics. This song is what sadness sounds like. The video reflects the hallucinogenic ambience of the song with its captivating visuals; their intense colours create a powerful contrast between the bright imagery of the video and dark tone of ‘Dear Happiness’ itself.

TheLife Without LoveEP is a sure sign of The Vestals’ raw talent and rapid progression as a band. It is indie-pop elegance. The Vestals have mastered atmospheric indie rock infused with the strongest elements of synth-pop to create their own unique sound. Teamed with their emotive lyrics, their overall musical style is perfectly matched to their mysterious persona. They have a rare ability to make audiences want to cry and dance simultaneously, sorrow never had such a sweet melody.

The Vestals followed up their EP release, and finished off 2014, with yet another scattered run of live shows, including headline slots in London and Newport’s favourite venue, Le Pub. The Vestals appeared briefly during the Spring of the new year, supporting No Devotion and JAWS before announcing a March show at The Project Space in Newport, which was their first headline show in months. Their technique of preserving an air of mystery, which some might perceive as ‘isolation’, seems to work for them, because they pulled in a crowd of over 100 people that night.

Keeping up (dis)appearances, The Vestals crept back into a dark corner for the remainder of Spring 2015, playing only a few low-key support slots. They have recently re-surfaced once more, and true to form, they are here with their biggest news yet. The Vestals have a run of shows lined up stretching from mid-July to mid-September. They head out on tour supporting fellow Welshmen, Funeral For A Friend, across the UK and have their own headline shows scheduled in London and Newport to tie in with it.

The Vestals are a band who know how to keep you interested, they release music to a consistently high standard and play incredibly well. Their live performances are slick, energetic and memorable. The year ahead looks promising for them, so you’d better get on board fast if you want to stand a chance at keeping up with them, it doesn’t seem like they’ll be able to linger in the shadows for much longer.

The band have also announced that they are back in the studio, recording their next release. We don’t know when it’ll be out yet, but until then, you can pick up a ticket for their tour with Funeral For A Friend here. Just a warning, you will be asked to get yourself to the front, and when you do, you’ve got to dance.

THE VESTALS 2

RRW
By RRW.

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