Victor & The Bully are, frankly, a runaway success in the UK steampunk scene and have no signs of slowing down. Now their popularity is beginning to spread over to the USA. Entirely due to their catchy music, unique style and annoying likeability. Their highly anticipated second album dropped into the Steampunk Journal inbox a couple of days ago. We’ve had an exclusive first hearing of the new album in all its polished glory.
Of course Matt & Harry have never been shy of showing their fans the music that they make as they complete each track. Go onto their Facebook page, or the more popular Sinners Facebook group page, and you’ll see plenty of links to their music on soundcloud and spotify. However, the completely finalised and shiny album in it’s particular order – as well as a track that they kept under their hats – has been relatively secret.
The two minute intro crashes in with a call to action that speeds up half way through. At first you think it’s maybe not as ominous as the previous album until the low French Horn bangs in like the horns of Erebor. However, despite this ominous sound, the album is decidedly lighter and bouncier than their fabled first album Deathbed Confessions. Track 2, Knockin’ On The Door, starts with a vintage, almost Electro Swing feel. But transforms into a traditional V&B sound albeit with an electric guitar solo.
The album holds a few gems that observe (Monday), reflect (Barrel of a Gun) or look at an obscure point of history that is generally overlooked (Causa Mortis). The latter observes the musicians of the two bands on the Titanic who, upon realising their fate, decided to play on while the guests attempted to escape the doomed ship. Barrel of a Gun is about a man that is sentenced to death and is facing the executioner. It’s a great song and was my instant favourite, although Causa Mortis is growing on me each time I listen to it.
Everyone warmly received the release of their single F.R.E.A.K.S when they announced it on their Facebook page. The album version features a special guest appearance by a steampunk performer. They input their own particular style and it adds a wonderful new dimension to the track.
There are some great stomping tracks on 8th Deadly Sin such as Fur Better or Worse, Beelzebub Boogie, F.R.E.A.K.S and Monday. There are also some lovely rolling tracks that will get you swaying such as I Don’t Want to go Home, Knocking on the Door and Butterfly Effect. While the lyrics aren’t as fast flowing as the ones on Deathbed Confessions, the higher level of thought and intelligence that’s gone into each song on 8th Deadly Sin is obvious. Hearing the start of I Don’t Want to Go Home made me excited to hear a ballad style song. But it’s as though Victor wanted to give it to us before ripping it away. Just one minute in and the song speeds up and the music to sway your lighter to is gone. However it’s replaced by a song that you’d sing at the end of the night with your arm round your best friend and your last drink held high in the air.
8th Deadly Sin review conclusion
8th Deadly Sin is a very different album to Deathbed Confessions. The first album was so popular that the boys had a monumental task creating an album that will be just as well received. Still, while they’ve been beavering away at this album, they’ve created a kind of cult following on their Facebook group. That’s kept the spirit of the band alive and prevented them from being forgotten. More importantly they’re very active on there which makes them much more approachable.
This new album is not like the first one though. It would be unfair to compare one to the other. While they do both have an irresistible energy flowing through them, the choral voices and operatic sound of Deathbed Confessions has been replaced with a lighter, livelier sound, with more trumpets, piano and guitar. It all contrasts nicely with the sometimes dark lyrical content. The speed of the music is arguably the only constant through the second and first albums. Every track on 8th Deadly Sin is a fast and furious telling of a story. It would be great to hear a slower record. Mainly to see how they’d cope with it but also to break up the album a little. However at the same time, I do think that the pure energy that’s transferred from Harry’s guitar and Matt’s Ukelele onto the record determines the speed of each track. Victor & The Bully don’t do slow. So with that thought, I’m perfectly happy with the arrangement.
While it’s unlikely that everyone will like every song – I can’t think of any album where every track is a classic, with the variation of themes on all 12 songs, there’s something for everyone to get behind.
8th Deadly Sin is a follow up album that would stand perfectly well as a debut. It’s energetic, lively, well written and each song reflects the fun that the boys are having while making their music.
The album will be around £13 or approx £8 download and is scheduled for release on 31st May 2018. But please follow the Victor & The Bully Facebook page for updates.
If you want to be a part of the action, the Victor & The Bully Sinner’s page has an active community. Just be sure to leave your angel at the door.