Van Dammes are a Finnish band formed in Belgium in 2013. Members Ilkka Hildén, Markus Kujawa, Jussi Roine, and Juho Talja all live in Helsinki.
The Van Dammes new VD EP is a fluffy, catchy, eight-minute slice of 80s garage-tinged pop punk. It sounds like they’d be a fun band to see live, too. The lyrics are perkier than what I’m used to hearing from punk bands lately. In retrospect, though, “Rock & Roll High School” wasn’t exactly Tolstoy either.
The first three songs on the EP sound like what would have happened if the Ramones had been more upper-middle-class. “Lisbon, I Promise You” has lyrics like, “I like the airport / I like the seafood / I like the people / I like the gardens…” The drum intro to these three is almost identical, which might have worked better if the songs were longer. As it was, the similarity stood out starkly.
“Sexy Apartment” is a distinctive change from the other three songs and I liked this one a lot. The sound is harder, more complex, and the lyrics have more range to them. “I hear you’re coming to my city, the city’s cold and cruel…”
I’d like to see them continue to take a bit of that harder edge that they’re hitting on “Sexy Apartment.” Either way, though, if you’re into more political punk, this is not going to be your cup of tea. That said, any critique of the VD EP also needs to take into consideration that every single one of these songs got stuck in my head at some point. They’re ridiculously catchy. This EP is like the angelfood cake of punk. Tasty, sweet, not a lot of substance to it, but sometimes that’s *exactly* what you need.
The first video from their EP, “Daniel,” is available on YouTube.
Written by Leilah Thiel