The Van Pelt - Tramonto
The Van Pelt
(KID016) - Produced with Gringo Records
(Double vinyl, gatefolded, limited edition)
Following the release of their third album Imaginary Third in 2014, The Van Pelt announce the release of new live album Tramonto, recorded during their European tour in 2014. Tramonto will be released on 9 September on gatefold 2 x LP vinyl and digital download, released worldwide jointly via Gringo Records (UK) and Flying Kid Records (Italy).
While only active for a matter of years, The Van Pelt have grown into something of a cult favourite since they original disbanded in 1997. And rightly so – even in that short period of time their music evolved considerably from the charged, proletysing punk of their debut album Stealing From Our Favourite Thieves to the quiet, creeping, minimal music of sophomore release Sultans of Sentiment. While the band called it quits at the peak of their success, with members going on to play in other acts including Jets to Brazil, Enon and The Lapse, to name just a few, The Van Pelt only continued to grow in popularity in underground circles.
Initially conceived as a balanced culmination of the styles they’d experimented with on those first two albums, Imaginary Third finally saw the light of day in 2014 instead as a collection previously unreleased material alongside tracks from early singles and 7”s. Spurring the band to reform to play Jabberwocky Festival in London, with more European dates plotted around it, both the release and tour gave the band an opportunity to reflect on the music they’d written almost 20 years prior. On revisiting those songs and playing them live again, singer and guitarist Chris Leo explains:
‘Though I loved touring, I have always hated performing. Without going into a long winded diatribe, the long story short is that I have tremendous difficulty reconciling why my audio art must also be something visual - and even if it is a cross contamination of the senses that the world demands, why does the world settle for the visual of another 4 dudes on stage? Hence, my performances have always been subpar, my inter-song banter downright embarrassing, and my awkwardness of knowing how to talk to people after a show regrettable to say the least. These shows were different. Having gone so many years without revisiting them the performance was a performance for me too. I loved re-singing the lyrics a 20 year younger me sweated out. I loved re-tracing the patterns on the guitar and listening to every sound the other guys were making. It was all too heady in these ways for me to get caught up in my previous problem.‘
Recorded on the first date of said tour – a private gig for friends in a garden in the rural area of Ferrara, Italy, Tramonto came about not as a grandiose, self-congratulatory effort, nor a between-albums stop-gap, as is the case with so many live albums. Instead, this was as an opportune moment to capture and document a new chapter in the band’s history – those original songs filtered through an older, wiser Van Pelt. As Chris Leo explains, ‘we think we sound better now than we ever did and we wanted to document that if for no one else's ears but ourselves.’
While the music still transports the listener back, it is not just simple nostalgia that causes these songs to make your hair stand on end – tracks like Speeding Train and Nanzen Kills A Cat still sound as wholly original now as they did then, and in fact if anything are given new relevance here.
Far from being a release that’s purely for prosperity, Tromonto (and indeed the tour that spawned it) has actually propelled the band into a new period of activity, with more material and touring planned for the future.
20 euros + shipping