Between 1993 and 1997, American emo/indie rock band The Van Pelt – “making sounds for listeners” – made quite an impression with tastemakers. Their Sultans Of Sentiment LP is truly a cult classic (re-issued last year), which now gets a worthy successor a quarter of a century later. I’ve listened to the nine new songs on Artisans & Merchants quite often recently, but still can’t fully grasp them. On first hearing you would push this record into the post-punk corner, but it’s actually much richer than that. For example, check out how much is happening in exciting singles Grid (with a cool video featuring skateboarder Keith Hardy) and Image of Health (“faith sounds like fate”), or in personal favorite Did We Hear the Same Song (with a rhythm that could have been by Talking Heads). This is immersive music with amazing lyrics, a very welcome comeback.
Artisans & Merchants, recorded/mixed by Jeff Zeigler, is out now digitally and on vinyl LP through Spartan Records (North America), Gringo Records (UK) and La Castanya (Europe and rest of the world). Featuring guest appearances by Nate Kinsella and Ted Leo (brother of frontman Chris Leo), among others.