The Vegan Leather: Poor Girls / Broken Boys (Midnight Pink) - Review | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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The Vegan Leather

Poor Girls / Broken Boys

Midnight Pink

Oct 30, 2019 Web Exclusive
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Pithy and poppy, Scotland’s The Vegan Leather deftly tap into punk rock, electronica, and disco whilst decrying the pressures of placed upon us by the powers that be and tearing down orthodoxy through clever witticism. Even the name is wrought with the irony that is so deeply embedded in their music, which gives their kitsch cool an added bite.

Having caused quite a stir with their singles “French Exit” and “The Hit,” they have now dropped their first full-length record, Poor Girls / Broken Boys, which features the fore-mentioned songs and shows every sign of being a late underground contender for album of the year.

“French Exit” opens the album with stabs of guitar and dual male/female led vocals that break into frenetic shouts and screams and even what sounds like a bit of melodica thrown in. The punchy number sets the tone for the rest of the record and the boundless energy of this new indie disko classic is a welcome invite that really draws you into the album, which is somewhat ironic given that it’s a song about the need to flee due to increasing social anxiety. Any lesser band and swaggering song “The Knife” would have been a single, but for The Vegan Leather it’s just another excellent album track for the art pop provocateurs. “Flakey” feels like the theme tune to the best ‘80s U.S. sitcom that never happened.

Having shown such exceptional promise so early on, the worry is that Poor Girls / Broken Boys would tail off, having burnt themselves out throwing everything into the stunning intro. Fortunately, this is far from the case and “Unorthodox” does indeed burst out of the box as its name suggests, while “Holy Ghost” resurrects shades of nu rave and “Know It All” is The Vegan Leather at their wildest.

“The Hit” lambasts the pressures on an act to achieve commercial success whilst also alluding to the treatment of women in the music industry, forced to be both passive and sexually provocative—reduced to a mere commodity to be used and destroyed. Had it simply been a few throwaway lyrics, the fantastic pop hooks and that immensely catchy bassline would have been enough to make it a great tune. But with the addition of such powerful lyrics they look ready to become the wry anti-hero icons that we seem to have been missing for a generation.

The final tracks are a fantastic finish. “Man Dies” and “Days Go By” are wrapped tight with kitchen sink drama and followed by their latest single “Heavy Handed,” which has already been getting prominent BBC Radio 1 airplay in the UK. This cry against the pressures of conformity is inspired by the radical freedom of conceptual artist Marcel Duchamp and begs for someone to choreograph a dance craze especially for it. “Zeitgeist” is the big finish that this magnificent album deserves; once again breaking through glass ceilings through chintzy disco and building arpeggio synth. The Situationists would love it.

This smart, sophisticated, and droll take on indie pop will draw obvious comparisons between The Vegan Leather with Roxy Music, Franz Ferdinand, and Metronomy. And while it may be unfair to list the big names they have apparently taken influence from, it is a testament to their songwriting talents that their debut album does stand up against these heavyweights. Poor Girls / Broken Boys is a truly impressive beginning for a band that seems destined to get a whole lot bigger—and have the cutting wit and shining charisma to be truly dazzling when they are. (

Author rating: 8/10

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Average reader rating: 5/10


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