Boomkat Product Review:
Stroom zoom in/out on Vazz’s precious post punk zingers and solo piano postcards with a precious compilation drawing from their distinct Glasgow and Edinburgh periods, containing some of the finest, barely-known melancholly wave-pop of the era. Fair to say that over the last few years we’ve developed an obsession with Vazz, their style of proto-dreampop sizzles with a mix of naivety and melancholy that’s hard to shake once bitten. File somewhere between Antena, Maximum Joy, Eno and Byrne.
Now following the release of a Vazz / Hugh Small collection ’Submerged Vessels And Other Stories / Piano Music’ in 2017, Stroom and Forced Nostalgia have cooked up ‘Cloud Over Maroma’ to function both as a refresher and primer to Vazz’s music, shuffling up a track sequence that takes in fizzy ohrwurms from their early years 1982-1987 under the grey skies of industrial Glasgow, and thru to Hugh Small’s solo piano compositions written in the more mannered environs of Edinburgh, as well as by the mountains of Andalucia, Spain, where he moved in 2017 to get away from Brexit (and maybe sigh at leathery brit OAPs shooting themselves in both feet, blaming it on kids, and queuing outside the hospital).
Not sure we’ll ever get over those early Vazz tracks and they naturally make up the big highlights here, notably the keeling swoon of ‘Cast Reflection’ - one of our all time favourite tracks of the era - and the shadow shimmy of ‘Lost Time’, but also the lush strokes of ‘Breath’ from their debut 7”. Those tracks are all strewn across the record, shuffled with the elegant style of Hugh Small’s solo work dating from 2010 to 2018, ranging from the Cézanne-inspired motif of ‘Cloud Over Maroma’, so named after the mountain outside Hugh’s window, to the echoes of Andalusia’s Muslim past that creep into ‘Mezquita (Part 2)’ and the lofty air of ‘Ritual’, his wistful love note to Edinburgh.
To the uninitiated - a total find.