While every other musician is hanging around some dimly lit bar waiting for their next muse to come in amongst the smoke and 2am stragglers, Vague didn’t look any further than the banal town they’ve grown up in.
Their own form of escapism, Vague romanticises the normality in the most minuscule details of life. Begotten from the boredom of Sam Trueman (Vocals/Guitar), Bryn Stagg (Bass), Hugo Kiff (Lead Guitar), and Haydn Young (Drums), the band is determined to find appeal in the dreary streets of Driffield.
“Bored is the perfect way to describe where we are and where we come from and where I personally write from.” Sam explains, “Because we’re not in a very poor place, we’re not in a very rich place, we are in the most normal easy going most stereotypical place you can imagine. We’re four very different people but the one thing that we all are is bored. Is absolutely fucking bored of where we live and how we are.”
This brutally honest attitude produced Vague’s artistic statement: take something allegedly unremarkable and embellish it to make it larger then life.
The band also has a certain dramatic flair fostered by their Sam’s background in acting, one evident in the way he carries himself as not only a frontman but an artist. Their brazen lyric choices and electric pink lipstick print that has become emblematic of the band are intrepid moves but are in part what keeps everyone so entranced by Vague. It’s the shock value, those unprecedented twists that render audiences enamoured by Vague and desperate to be apart of whatever twists and turns are coming next.
“All of our songs from a writing perspective are supposed to be like theatrical… I think that we did a real outside of the box kind of thing so basically the idea of lipstick is a real strong statement as well as a real recognisable statement, like lipstick is really striking, real visual.” Sam begins.
“You’ll notice in like the lyrics and the songwriting the things in Vague are quite simple like the stories quite simple but they’ve usually got a kind of creepy twist to it and that’s kind of like the lipstick,like it’s pretty and nice but it’s also got undertones of like it’s quite sexual striking thing it’s quite old English Victorian-y.”
That shock value manifests itself in not only Vague’s aesthetic but through their latest EP as well. Starting with ‘She’s So Sweet,’ moody and shimmery the song sports a glittering bass line and a guitar riff reminiscent of dream-pop. The song, seemingly penned about a girl extends beyond, instead reaching a level of introspection in which the frontman inspects his own actions instead of projecting his questions onto someone else. Shouting “I’ve never worn lipstick” he draws attention to his own actions in a way previously unconsidered. Based on societal norms his confessional seems almost pointless, why would he need to clarify that he’d never worn lipstick? Then again, why shouldn’t he have worn it, why wouldn’t he need to clarify? By pointing out that minuscule detail and emphasising something previously unnoticed it challenges your perception and adds an importance to the one minute and assumed details.
Following in its foot steps, ‘Indulge Me’ comes on and absolutely grabs you. Diving right in with a huge guitar lead with bass and percussion flawlessly flushing out the arrangement the song is exhilarating. Brimming with drama and confidence this song is executed with a precision that makes you forget this is Vague’s debut EP. Once again they utilise that shock value in the bridge with the lyrics “touch me like a lady with your big strong hands.” An apparently awkward description adds to the depth of the song fusing the traditionally masculine attributes with the feminine action. The juxtaposition goes deeper than just the statement on the surface and instead calls into question gender roles and societal norms in general. The dramatics of the song is only heightened by the ending as it dissolves into a charming chaos of tumultuous percussion and power charged guitar riffs.
The title track, ‘Bored,’ encompasses all of the pent up frustration and themes throughout the album scrutinising everything from television to snippets of everyday conversation. Satirising their surroundings by asking if someone’s son can come out and if they’d like their grass cut the philosophical pondering build as the music does. Starting out slow the song gradually gains momentum until the tipping point where all of the discontentment and restlessness spill over. Though ‘Bored’ tries to emphasise the normalcy of their surroundings the alluring descriptions and bewitching instrumentals makes everything seem bright and compelling.
It’s like you want to live in Driffield on the off chance that you can feel something even reminiscent of the electricity and energy in this track. Similar to how Joy Division and The Smiths pulled inspiration from the dismal streets of Manchester making you assume there’s something transcendental about that city Vague makes you wonder what off breed magnetism Driffield harbours that makes them so captivating. The songs makes you see the town in full and living colour, a place previously resigned to black and white.
Already Vague is transforming not only the British music scene but Driffield itself, “We played the Priory, and well we say where we live is such a desolate place like nothing happens, we write songs about it and we’re bored and it is but at the same time the thing that made me really happy was playing at Priory and seeing all these people, it was almost like a bringing together.” Bryn reminisces, “It was like a coming together, like a subculture of sorts like everyone had come together for this Priory gig not to let loose but to come together and listen to music. It was just real warm I thought.”
They embody the sentiment of a whole generation by writing about the everyday things that are universally relatable. Their observations about society in general and how their views are projected onto their music are those that usually takes years to curate but these boys have mastered in a single EP. It takes more than just talent and charisma to succeed, just like Driffield these boys have something to them unidentifiable and hidden in the unremarkable. A sort of humdrum magic unexplainable but apparent in their music rendering everyone that listens to them absolutely enthralled by the bi-product of 4 boys being as Young so eloquently put it “absolutely fucking bored!”
Words by Samantha Sullivan
Photo by Danny Lomas