It’s hard to believe that we’re introducing a band that has only played three live shows together, but such is apparently the case with Various Cruelties. In a huge stroke of luck, though, the three bands for whom they have opened are Villagers, Mumford & Sons, and The Vaccines. A four-piece hailing from White City, London, Various Cruelties describes themselves as “shabby Motown pop,” and for the most part, the description fits. Think Arctic Monkeys without the acerbic wit and penchant for heavy guitar lines.
Various Cruelties’ latest single (their third – does that number have some sort of significance?), “If It Wasn’t For You” subsists mainly on well-placed surf guitars and a simple bass line. Likewise, the vocals are unobtrusive, picking up just enough in the chorus without sounding forced. In fact, it is Various Cruelties’ restraint in all facets of “If It Wasn’t For You” that is so refreshing. There are no pretenses here; just a band with an obvious ability to write a good pop song. It is amazing that after fifty-plus years, bands can still tap into the root of rock music and excite listeners. Various Cruelties does so here.
You can stream Various Cruelties’ other single, “Chemicals” on their bandcamp page. “Cold As You” is a horn-laden stomper, whereas “Chemicals” exhibits the band’s softer side, complete with a catchy-as-hell chorus. Just three songs in, Various Cruelties has exhibited its ability to incorporate different genres in its music. Based on the success of “If It Wasn’t For You,” though, I hope the band focuses more on that aspect of its sound. It could definitely fill a niche in the music landscape right now.
(Admin note – A huge thanks to Jonathon at Radiate for hooking us up with an exclusive stream of the aforementioned “Cold As You”.)
There’s a limited-to-500-and-hand-numbered 7″ single of “Cold As You” available on eBay for £7.50 ($13.50), but out of 29 there are only 14 left (at the time of writing), so if you want this, you better be fast. If you don’t want the vinyl, seriously buy the single from Bandcamp and help these guys out.