Swoon-worthy post-punk duo Vazz return with a collection of new/old recordings via Belgium’s sterling STROOM 〰 label, beautifully reprising the nimble, sylvan sound of their cult side Whisper Not  with a collection of songs made during the same era, and right up to the modern day, but never heard beyond their archive. Since the 2012 reissue of their debut recordings, Vazz have been cited among Andy Stott’s favourite artists, and seen key inclusions in prime mixes by Jon K, Illum Sphere, and Ron Morelli, who’ve all helped spread the Vazz sound like a very pleasing virus to welcome hosts around the world.
Hugh Small and Anna Howson aka Vazz are pretty much the definition of a band who were never fully appreciated in their time. Perhaps due to their own stubbornness and self-destructive attitude, they passed up an offer from 4AD’s Ivo very early on, and despite plays of their Breath/Violent Silence 7” by John Peel, they simply missed that boat, only to be rediscovered and touted as “Scotland’s best kept secret” a whole generation later thanks to Forced Nostalgia’s reissues and specifically the song Cast Reflections, which, if you ask us, is one of the most beautiful, definitive songs of its time.
With Submerged Vessels and Other Stories we now get a peek behind the curtain of their sessions spanning 34 years: from early recordings at The Hellfire Club, a studio in the dank basement of a West End Glasgow tenement also shared by Aztec Camera, Orange Juice and The French Impressionists, a.o, where they made Whisper Not, thru to their slightly later Glasgow home recordings, and subsequent sessions in Edinburgh dating to 2014-2016, which are also the focus of a bonus CD; Hugh Small’s Piano Music (2014-2016).
It’s maybe too much to ask for another Cast Reflections, but there’s still some real gems inside here, especially in the serpentine torque and melancholy cadence of Solitary Sun  and the delectable, skinny dub suspension system of Watercolours , or the smoky wisp of PeripheralVision (Macula Lutea Mix), which finds Hugh Small slipping into more ambient/textural spheres slightly later in Edinburgh c. 1988, after they had parted way.
Ultimately, after disbanding they would never reprise the Vazz sound, but Hugh Small proves a dab hand at the keys with Piano Music (2014-2016),sublimely channelling the keen and hiraeth of their spikier early work into reserved yet plush solo expressions that neatly bookend each side of this LP, and the Vazz story altogether, whilst sweetly retaining their timeless enigma.
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- Summer Sale 2019