Finally, after months of anticipation The Vegan Leather have released their debut album Poor Girls / Broken Boys. We became fans of the Scottish quartet back in June by their storming single “French Exit” which grooved its way into our minds and never really left. Combining elements of electro-punk and indie together, this was a sound we wanted more of and the band deliver it in abundance with this record.
The punchy guitars of “French Exit”, the storming distorted riffs of “The Knife” and the smooth basslines of “Flakey” help kick off the album at a fast pace. The band have a brilliant gift in creating material that’s catchy and make it seem effortless as they throw constant hooks at you throughout. The massive atmosphere that fills “Holy Ghost” really stands out as The Vegan Leather fulfilling their ambitious ideas, and you cannot ignore the impact of “Man Dies”.
In spite of all of its bold exterior and vibrant instrumentals, Poor Girls / Broken Boys references mental health, fears and anxieties throughout. “The album discusses the ways in which people are sometimes broken down by different situations or pressures,” Marie Collins of the band explains. “The songs are a testament to how people learn to deal with hardships and tell stories of how we either succumb or resist to the world we live in.”
The theme of existential dread dominates “Flakey” and a constant battle against social anxiety looms over “French Exit”, but the band succeed at keeping the music light despite how open they are with these topics. What would traditionally be paired with heavy, emotive music is instead combined with some of the most organic, catchy music around. The result is a sound that grooves tremendously without diluting the need to discuss said topics. It’s brilliantly well done.
This record is best summed up by the band for the song “Days Go By”, a fan-favourite that received a new recording for the record: “The song is trying to turn that on its head by saying don’t let that bring you down and don’t ever quit. Life is a big crescendo and you swirl around in it trying to make sense of it all. The very last lines are ‘still you never quit’. You got this.”
Poor Girls / Broken Boys is a fantastic record by The Vegan Leather. As mentioned before, its ability to hide true feelings deep within a bold exterior makes for entertaining listening at face value, but it’s once you dig into the record that you unveil the depth it has. We’ve all experienced moments where we’ve had to maintain face to hide how we’re truly feeling, and it’s reflected wonderfully in this record, making it one of the most relatable records around. As the band mentioned, life truly is a big crescendo.