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Album Review

Vinnie Caruana – Survivor’s Guilt

Vinnie Caruana - Survivor's Guilt

Ten tracks of simple chords, head-bopping melodies, and relatable songwriting.

Label: Big Scary Monsters
Released: 27th May 2016

Rating: ★★★★

How great it is to hear a solo album that sounds as huge as this. Vinnie Caruana’s debut ‘Survivor’s Guilt’ is a hopeful, accessible effort; ten tracks of simple chords, head-bopping melodies, and relatable songwriting.

It’s about pushing forward despite circumstances; about facing what’s in front of you and getting on with it. ‘Roll Back To Me’ trudges along, mirroring its subject of dealing with heartbreak with a sombre guitar, gloomy bass line, and every bit of emotion poured out in Vinnie’s voice, while ‘Your Religion Is Killing Me’ could almost be a Brand New song.

With lyrics like “English isn’t getting any less grey and you wanna die,” it’s not as positive as the major chords of ‘Burn It Down’ and ‘We Don’t Have To Die Alone’ would have you think, but the negative lyrics are usurped by a relentless optimism. ‘Angel of the North’ is a sentimental love letter to Great Britain, written from an outsider’s point of view, and – although subtle in volume and structure – is an obvious future hit.

Sounding distinctly American, there’s a gritty East Coast sound throughout ‘Heavy Weighs The Summer’. ‘Gem Street’ refers to California, however, and there’s no doubting the sunny, beach-y connotations in the twanging guitars and indie melodies.

Vinnie sounds unfalteringly like the punk singer he always was, but his growl is accompanied by songs with strong pop tendencies. ‘Survivor’s Guilt’ is an impressive standout album from a musician with an already solid career. Kathryn Black