The Van Susans have got big ambitions. From album opener Bricks Not Sticks Or Straw they make their intentions clear- big throated choruses, self-empowering stadium ready lyrics, huge thudding drums and crashes of uplifting melody. With uplifting guitar solos that channel the Celtic rock of Thin Lizzy and The Levellers, and Olly Andrews’ determinedly English diction, theirs is a pleasingly local take on pop rock.
On Stepping Stones they augment their exuberant tale of reaching for the stars with jaunty ska upstrokes, and they’ve got a few ballads scattered throughout- the piano and string driven If I Should Succeed being a stand out- but at their best they’re belting out straight up chart friendly rock. Highlights include Popo; coming with a ready built sing-a-long chorus that would sound perfect drifting ‘cross a festival field; Disappear, which finds Andrews letting the rawness of his voice come through, hitting the sweet spots a pre-booze addled Shane McGowan delivered with early Pogues; and Fireworks; a genuine, fully fledged moment of Coldplay influenced chart perfection.
For those who like their rock big, poppy, brash and bold, the Van Susans are the band for you. With increasing support from radio, and recent high profile slots supporting The Beautiful South, we have a feeling this year may be theirs for the taking.