The Van T’s are a Glasgow based quartet, three ladies, Hannah and Chloe Van Thompson on guitar and vocals, Joanne Forbes on bass and one gentleman, Shaun Hood on drums (writes Andy Wood).
Originally formed as a duo by Chloe and Hannah things took off for them with them once they recruited Shaun and Joanne and they gelled as a full band. I first saw them live in Opium in Edinburgh in Autumn 2015 at a show to promote the newly released Laguna Babe E.P. and was pretty smitten with them. The show was less than packed yet The Van T’s played with a sheer verve, joy and energy that left me smiling all the way through their set. The songs really shone through as well, full of great hooks and twists and etched themselves into my psyche.
Since then I’ve seen them around half a dozen times on stages of all shapes and sizes, in venues big and small including opening for Wolf Alice and The Jesus and Mary Chain where they did not look out of place, winning over audiences who possibly knew little about them beforehand but were not only clapping and cheering but interacting with them with a great energy coming from the stage and being reciprocated by the audience.
As well as being a fabulous live band The Van T’s have released several E.P.’s, a 7” single and a number of singles, some of which have been accompanied by smart, eye-catching videos. My favourite is the promo for ‘Laguna Babe’ which is both sassy and slightly eerie. Directed by Tim Courtney and populated by friends of the band it begins all very much sweetness and light, in an American style Diner populated by friendly faces and cheerleaders before climaxing in a fearful escape from a creepy nightclub full of sinister looking people in animal masks.
This seems to sum up The Van T’s aesthetic perfectly. The melodies are often bright and flecked with sunlight but there is a stark edginess and fierceness to the songs as well, a real sense of depth.
‘Fresh Meat’ has a fairly grisly, bloody video and the song is pretty edgy and intense, both musically and lyrically: ‘The sweet soft sweat on her lips / She tries not fight with her fingertips / It’s so good to be laying / The smell of fresh meats the same’. The narrative shifts slightly through the song without the target being specifically named directly giving the words a haunting and haunted feel.
There are definitely a number of influences at play in The Van T’s. The exceptional ‘Blood Orange’ reminds me of Belly, while ‘Fresh Meat’ nods at Nirvana in the riff for example but the sound is overall, definitely that of The Van T’s with great interplay between the vocals, sumptuous melodies and a hard edge.
If you love your music with an array of moods, light and dark, harsh and gentle with joy in the performance and songs at the heart of it then you ought to love The Van T’s immensely. At this point in time I can’t think of a more perfect band around at this moment in time.