Profile: Van Susans

Van Susans are a Pop/Rock sextet residing in London's leafy suburbs. Consisting of Olly Andrews, Olly Groome, brothers Rob Dullaway, Ed Dullaway, Tim Dullaway and Holly McLatchie, the group have a burning passion for melodic harmonies and tales of love and heartbreak, accompanied by both beautiful acoustic rhythms and assertive electric guitar riffs.

Van Susans are signed to the independent label, Beatnik Geek Records, (which you may remember me mentioning in a past profile of Keston Cobblers' Club) and cite classic mid nineties/early noughties bands such as Jack's Mannequin, Jimmy Eat World, Something Corporate, Dashboard Confessional, Jamie T and Incubus. Their line-up includes the usual lead/backing vocals, guitars, keyboards and the occasional sounds of a violin played by Holly. In the run up to their debut release, the band spent their days writing and touring relentlessly, performing at established venues like London's Indigo 2 and Clapham's Grand.

Van Susan's debut EP, We Could Be Scenery was released back in May last year and showcases the band’s effortless ability to write killer hooks, big choruses and instantly sing-along, well crafted melodies.

I can't quite put my finger on it, but there's something extremely likeable about this band. The EP opens with Cha Cha Bang, which is by far the stand-out track. Greeted with a typical pop/punk guitar intro, pulsating percussion and handclaps, the song details a blossoming love over infectious melodies and harmonies. The group's songwriting skills are highlighted in this track, particularly during the swung-feel chorus and the slight cockney/mockney accent of the vocals:

"and I'm thinking maybe she might be the one/ But this girl she's crazy, it's like dancing with a gun/ And i cant find the safety my legs refuse to run away/"

Plans was released as a single in February 2011 and is a different sound for the group. Featuring definite folk influences not only in the arrangement and instrumentation, but in the lyricism too. The chorus is a declaration of love with pastoral imagery and romantic gestures. However, it's not until the end of the song when the lyrics reveal "It wasn't meant to be" - a classic songwriting theme that again shows the group's maturity.

"I will wait for you and you will wait for me. one day we'll get married on a hillside, so everyone can see."

The Van Susans are currently working on a full length album and their forthcoming single, Bricks Not Sticks Or Straw, is set for release this March. A hugely determined, proficient and creative bunch, Van Susans already have undeniable potential; something which often presents itself in the beginnings of a career. However, the real test will be their ability to maintain and develop it to the next level.

Go and see Van Susans in their upcoming gig: 10th March - Proud2 @ The O2, London

Links: | Facebook | Twitter | Website | Beatnik Geek Records |

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