Album Review: Vanbot – How Could I Prepare For This

Stockholm, Sweden based Vanbot is a pop artist but not as we know it. Her previous album Siberia was recorded on the Trans-Siberian railway and now she’s back with a new one that delves deep into the subject of breaking. It’s called How Could I Prepare For This.

By Graeme Smith

Breaking comes in a lot of forms, both light and shade. We reach breaking point, we break up, we break free, sometimes all before the break of dawn. How Could I Prepare For This is the soundtrack to those moments, bringing gentle, clubby synthpop for those in need of it.

The album opens with I Will Never Not Have Had You, a slow-building, brooding intro to its emotional journey. The vocals are light and heart-breaking, reminiscent of Scandi-pop contemporaries like Robyn. A melancholic first verse gives way to a lively and triumphant chorus that’s full of interesting electronic textures. It’s a strong start.

Bored Like Me is moody and menacing, with industrial undertones and touches of hyperpop. You Are Late is a soft ballad girded by ’90s dance elements. 42m is a brief and experimental interlude before Pace and Pitch closes the album’s first half with stripped-back instrumentals and vulnerable vocals. It’s a highlight.

Reasons to Let Go brings driving percussion and tension that explodes in a sweeping climax. The Way It Was is a pulsating, nostalgic dance number while Doubters Never Commit is delicate and bittersweet. The Weight Of Rage provides a reflective, cinematic moment before title track How Could I Prepare For This closes the album with a cathartic, fist-pumping synthpop crescendo.

Vanbot’s fourth album sees her returning to her musical roots laid down in her debut so long time fans will find a lot to love. For newcomers like me it’s the perfect introduction to her world. The emotional landscape of How Could I Prepare For This is so powerful, yet its bright electronic instrumentals prevent things falling into self pity. It’s another contender for album of the year.

How Could I Prepare For This was made in collaboration with Samuel Stark. You can give it a listen below.