Vukovi are a Scottish noise-pop duo hailing from Kilwinning, North Ayrshire. Known for their energetic live shows, Vukovi are onto bigger and better things with the release of their third studio album Nula, released on October 7. 

With only a two-year gap since the release of last record Fall Better, Nula is a clear sign that this band are not aiming to waver on their path to world denomination any time soon. Nula is a concept album set in a distant, far-away imaginary sci-fi universe. Vocalist Janine Shilstone talks about the main inspiration behind the album, saying, “I think about what’s happening in the world too much. The way the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer. The greed. The cruelty. There’s a lot of that on the record and in Nula‘s story.”

The first track on the album is ‘Departure,’ which is an intriguing opener. Its intergalactic nature does a fantastic job of building you up for what is to come. ‘Tainted’ is up next, a tremendous starting track—the instrumentals thunder through your veins, etching into your memory with every note. Additionally, the chorus is super catchy and memorable too. ‘Lasso’ is one of our favorites on the album, with some irresistible production leading the way. The chorus is undoubtedly one of the best on the release; just so well-written and impactful. 

‘Quench’ is a song that talks about female sexual liberation in a very open and honest way. It is fantastic to witness such musical influences, as sexual desire in women is still somewhat of a taboo topic, even to this day. Another sure-fire highlight of Nula! ‘Slo’ shows off Shilstone’s vocal talent in the best way possible, combined with synth-heavy instrumentalization. Unfortunately, this song has a little less memorability than others on the release, but it’s not bad by any means. ‘I Exist’ is up next, which starts well with some almost synth-rock guitar work paving the song’s direction. This is another high point within the album, that’s for sure. The space-like spoken segment near the end of the song helps to elevate it further into our memory, with Shilstone’s scream-like vocals adding a much-needed playful element. 

‘Attention’ consequently grabs your attention from the get-go, leaping right in with a bold instrumental track, a perfect interlude. ‘Shadow’ carries on with the same themes as the rest of the album while maintaining an authentic Vukovi sound. ‘Hades’ contains an infectious introduction, which keeps you wanting more. Janine Shilstone’s vocals are so bold and impactful here, singing with so much conviction. ‘Kill It’ contains further synth-rock instrumentalization, which is well produced. However, this is another song that is less memorable than others. ‘Hurt’ is probably one of the most vulnerable on the record, with Shilstone singing in the chorus, “You know I’ll never be whole but I’m a fighter / Kick me in the dirt but still like dust I’ll rise / I’m gonna be heard / And I touch my scars just to make me remember / Wanna see your face when I stake your fat black heart / I’m gonna be heard.” 

‘Sad’ is another emotional song on Nula, which speaks about Shilstone’s personal experience of trying to fix a partner in a romantic relationship but realizing that she couldn’t and had to let them go. You can feel the actual vulnerability throughout, which is just so impactful. The final track, ‘XX,’ deals with the ongoing issue of violence against women. Shilstone provides a safe space for other women, ultimately lifting them and providing positivity in every way. What an insane closer to Nula – genuinely fantastic! 

Nula must be one of the best records this year to date. Even though some expected filler tracks are dotted within this release, the highlights completely triumph. Even though Vukovi are ultimately trying to focus on more of a concept record, it is so imaginative, focusing on many important, current issues to which we are sure that many people will relate. Indeed an astonishing record.

Nula was released on Friday, October 7, 2022. 

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