Album of the Week: VIRVON VARVON – ‘Mind Cancer’

I’ve got to say, this new Virvon Varvon release from Girlsville is totally off the charts fantastic.

Featuring members of Black Time, Wake Up Dead, Candy Highway, and The Jazz June Combines, Virvon Varvon checks off a lot of boxes for the discerning punk without following one single formula.

Aggressive noise, anthemic screaming vocals, distortion, and catchy hooks are all represented but there’s something both old and new school about it all. As a whole the 7 tracks here (8, but ‘Mind Cancer‘ is included twice) are hard to pin down but one thing is for sure: the hooks are real.

We begin with the demo version of ‘Mind Cancer‘ a buoyant but noisy bubblegum garage punk nugget. ‘Nothing To Prove‘ has vocalist Hanne Highway first sneering and then screaming over a straight ahead ’77 power pop punk rocker. Songs like ‘Allergies‘ and ‘Radical‘ could weirdly appeal to fans of both The Pixies and The New Pornographers, but only if those two bands were afflicted with rabies. ‘Trouble‘ drives like the Dead Kennedys’ ‘Moon Over Marin‘and yes, Judas Priest’s ‘Breaking The Law.’ The drop to the chorus kills me. So nasty!

Listen” recalls the power chords and pop sensibilities of Wipers, while ‘What Did You Say‘ is a mix of angular post-punk and hardcore angst before the ‘polished’ version of ‘Mind Cancer‘ closes things out.

Garage punk, heavy metal, post-punk, hardcore, alternative, pop punk, and old school punk all happening at once, shows the wide diversity of sounds happening here.


How did Virvon Varvon come together?

“We got together and wrote songs because London is full of garbage attitudes and garbage ideas”, the band says. “In order to survive and stay sane you have to eat a lot of shit sandwiches. We are not trying to solve anything. Politics, society, modern life is hell and we are all doomed; We just have to deal with that. VV is an outlet to laugh it off with like-minded people.”

“We also wanted to highlight the awesomeness of Hanne Highway. In my opinion, she is the best rock and roll front person of this decade, century, whatever. I remember the first time we were recording vocals for our demo: she shredded through each song and nailed every part with fury. After her second pass at all 8 songs, 16 total takes of constant screaming at the top of her lungs with no breaks in between, when most people would be completely speechless and out of voice, she just took the headphones off and said, “do you want me to do them again?”. Plus, Stix can play any drum beat while looking at you and sipping a beer, Lemmy is always swirling out-of-control through some sort of echo chamber with a guitar and Rob plays the bass like an automatic weapon. That is why I wanted to play with these people.
I’d also like to know what mish mash of influences combine to make the sound but that’s my questions. Fave bands

I am not saying we are the most original band ever, but we never talked about influences. Punk, metal, hardcore, garage, noise, boogie rock? We collectively grew up in New Jersey, UK, South African and Finland, so the bands from those genres from those places.
Hanne came up with all the song titles and lyrics and a few songs. We all just wrote riffs and bashed them together. That is why we sound angry and/or discordant in one part and melodic in the next. We followed the immortal words of Looch Vibrato from The Magnetix, “I don’t care”.

Fave movies: True Romance, The Big Lebowski and rock documentaries about musicians desperate for credibility.

On why they never recorded “Cuz I’m a Blonde” by Julie Brown (from Earth Girls Are Easy)“That would be a great one for us. We did cover The Strangeloves’ song “Cara-Lin”. It was fun to play, but our collective neurosis stopped us because we could not figure out one of the notes in the bridge, and we didn’t want to hire a sax player, so we sacked if off after a few practices.



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One foot in the door
The other one in the gutter

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