The Blue Van, hailing from Denmark, just released their third album Man Up. The album was released April 7th via iTunes and will follow shortly with the physical release. You have probably heard their first single “Silly Boy”, on the Samsung Behold commercial. Other songs from Man Up have been featured in VH1’s new show Free Radio, an episode of 90210, CSI NY, and a PlayStation NBA video game. “Silly Boy” presently sits in Denmark’s Top Ten. The band’s name comes from the word blue van in Demark (Den blå varevogn), which picks up the mentally ill. That links with the term Denmark used to describe the new and loud rock n’ roll music, pigtraad. Loosely decoded, it means barbed wire. Barbed wire, blue vans, the crazies- make sense now?
It’s hard to imagine that a band from Demark could be so musical impacted by American music, mostly from classic rock bands like Cream, The Rolling Stones, and The Kinks. They have that 1960s rock n’ roll sound, but also incorporates some raw R&B, a touch of soul, and explosive drums. Their songs are all catchy, every single one. Just when you think that you’ve found a song you’re not crazy about, those charismatic rhythms pull you right back in. I’m not calling The Blue Van the next Rolling Stones or Cream, but I think they have pure elements of rock and it’s great that they are heavily influenced by the greats. Although Man Up has no apparent theme, I’m still happy with the outcome.
My favorites: “Be Home Soon”, “Man Up” (love the guitar bends and it’s blues elements), “Silly Boy”, “The Socialite” (so beyond catchy that a new word needs to be creative), “Out of Control”, and “True”.
The ones that only brought their B game: “The Goes My Love”, “Lay Me Down An Die”, “In Love With Myself”, and “Trees”.
Review: 4.5 out of 5
When Tina gave me The Blue Van’s album Man Up, I really had no idea what to expect at all. They’re from Denmark, they’ve released two albums already, and they’ve been getting some play on television commercials. After listening to the album, I can say that The Blue Van delivers a solid bluesy rock album that’s catchy and quirky at its best, and a little repetitive and derivative at its worst.
The more I listened to Man Up, the more I heard bands like The Kinks and even The Bravery, which isn’t a bad thing, but too many of the tracks sound too similar. Every musician has their own style, but the same beats and guitar riffs didn’t really make this album stand out. They’re a good band, don’t get me wrong, they just need to do something to differentiate their songs from each other.
There are some great tracks on the album. “Silly Boy,” “I’m A Man,” and the album’s title track, “Man Up” are catchy and have some good hooks. Overall I liked what I heard, but Man Up works better as chill-out background music than anything else.
Listen To: Man Up, Silly Boy, I’m A Man, There Goes My Love
Skip ‘Em: In Love With Myself, Trees,
Review: 3.5 out of 5