Way, way back in the beforetime of January 2020 The Vahnevants released a record called Freakout People. It was brought to my attention at the beginning of August, but in Covid time that could mean yesterday, so I’m trying to not feel too bad about putting it off so long. I actually listened to it five or six times shortly after receiving it and then got caught up with other stuff and didn’t have a chance to hop back in until today. The Des Moines band has been putting out music since 2014, and this is my first real exposure to them.
Right away I knew I was going to like this record. It’s a throwback to 60’s garage rock and psych vibes that radiates like a warm glowing orb in my brain. They are a group that is tight enough to make sounding loose really good. Freakout People can, at times, have an energy so shambolic and free that it feels like The Vahnevants are channeling The Doors. Honestly, when I first heard it all the way through I thought to myself “Boy, these guys must love Morrison Hotel.”
That feeling is never so strong as it is in “I’m Your Man.” It’s a foot-stomping honky tonk with the extra spice of fuzzy effects on the vocals. The Black Keys kind of perfected this sort of thing in their early recordings, but the guitar here is so non-chalant and unassuming I doubt Auerbach could restrain himself to play it. The song takes a turn about two and a half minutes in, providing another detour to keep the listener on their toes.
Freakout People is a really fun listen. I’ve now heard it approximately 11 times and I’m finding new little things in every spin. You can check it out for yourself on The Vahnevants Bandcamp page (tomorrow is another Bandcamp Friday where all money goes direct to the artist if you feel like buying the album).