It all started plainly enough—a high school buddy inviting me to some concert in Brooklyn. “Vundabar is playing!” he excitedly typed. I had heard the name somewhere, so I agreed. We found ourselves on the second floor of a run-down warehouse, with the lighting punctuated with Christmas lights. After a mediocre opening band Vundabar stormed on stage. They smiled and danced with each other, cracking inside-jokes, and smiling. They seemed to be having a blast. Then, they started playing.
We first have to talk about Brandon Hagen’s voice. Those familiar with the Born Ruffians will easily find the similarity between Hagen and Luke Lalonde. At points, he’s haunting, like the beginning of “Holy Toledo,” off their 2013 record Antics, but soon he jolts alive, filling the entire space with his cry. The backing tracks range from punk to surf-rock, like a cracked-out Best Coast. The best example is the track “Greenland” off the self-titled EP. The guitar is chaotic, yet melodic, a repetitive drive towards playful insanity. Almost instantly, it reminded me of being a 15-year-old jumping around to old Say Anything records in a bedroom.
This child-like attitude might have something to do with how young the band is—most are still college-aged. However, it’s clear by listening to them that they have a future in a similar niche as Voxtrot or Tokyo Police Club. Regardless of where their music goes, they are a band not worth missing.