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Man Up

The Blue Van

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Album Review

Danish rockers the Blue Van do rock star swagger better than they do music, but on their third album, Man Up, they've gotten just good enough at writing tunes and making them stick in the studio that their attitude sounds reasonably plausible rather than just wishful thinking. Unlike many of their brethren in the Netherlands, the Blue Van seem to have their feet planted in '70s hard rock rather than garage rock or punk, but guitarist and singer Steffen Westmark lacks the epic style to conjure up the thunder of a Jimmy Page or the solid crunch to be a riff monster like Angus Young. But on Man Up, Westmark's lean, wiry tone has gained enough personality to give the songs some welcome melodic weight, and the tunes are stronger and catchier on this album. The first four tracks kick off Man Up in grand and lively style, and though the album never quite regains the same momentum after slowing down for the Zep-influenced "Lay Me Down and Die," Westmark lets loose enough sweat and smirk to keep the music moving, and drummer Per M. Jorgenson and bassist Allan F. Villadsen back him up with solid, no-frills rhythms (through keyboard man Søren V. Christensen is barely audible in much of the mix). There's an understated snarky wit running through Man Up that makes this album feel more like a parody of hard rock than the real thing (especially given the band's lack of guitar heroics), but it's close enough to the mark to seem like a satire executed out of love of the form, and when the Blue Van hit fourth gear, you'd believe they could pull off a real hard rock epic if they put their minds to it.

Customer Reviews

superb album

theres a couple of dodgy songs on the album but again, a superb album from the blue van! how they are still unheard of in the uk is beyond me!!!

buy it now!!

this is a grate band! cant believe how good they are, just couldn't get it out of my cd player

simplicity and good tunes

I came across the fact that there was such a band when reading the biography of the great Steve Jobs. The Blue Van had a track used in an ad for the iPad when it was launched and I thought, "OK, I have to find this and have a listen. Found the album and loved the simple voice, bass, guitar sound. There were little echoes of The Black Keys whom I discovered recently and loved El Camino.
There are weaker tracks but "Man Up", "There Goes My Love", "I'm a Man", "Put My Name in the Sand" just move on and keep on going really well.
The voice is distinctive and stands up well.
Great harking back to the 60s underlies this

Biography

Formed: Broenderslev, Denmark

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Growing up in rural Broenderslev, Denmark, Steffen Westmark (vocals/guitars), Søren V. Christensen (Hammond organ), Allan F. Villadsen, and Per M. Jorgenson (drums) were inspired by the classics — Cream, Kinks, Pretty Things, Them — and they used that hard R&B, primal rock influence to drive the revivalist sound of the Blue Van. The combo moved to Copenhagen in 2003 and scored gigs at rock festivals like Spot 9 and Roskilde. That exposure helped land them a deal, and a five-song EP...
Full bio
Man Up, The Blue Van
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