My time with Vanilla Franco’s debut has been an absolute treat. Traction is a healthy debut shock full of bangers -with pretty tight mixes, tighter riffs and grooves, and even tighter performances from all members of the budding Suffolk outfit.

Thrashy, punky, edgy, full of attitude, and a manic character, Traction is a portrait of a band that knows how to grab attention. For the onlooker, Vanilla Franco is playing around with a very familiar set of tools -guitar riffs and quick paces making for some energizing vibes, and manic howls from frontman Joey Quinn seal the deal, giving us a healthy bout of modern British punk, and while this is mainly true for Traction, I couldn’t help but feel that summing up Traction as a punk record would be doing it a disservice.

Joey Quinn is a fantastic songwriter who is equally capable of filling the air of the pub with the crazed energy of a punk veteran as he is capable of writing a nuanced song with rich harmonies and musical melodies, utilizing inventive instrumental tones, especially with his guitars and the bass, and using varied beats. The results are often lush displays of a band with terrific musicality, admittedly more than what’s needed for a punk album to work.

Traction has songs that are at times so cinematic and expansive that they can easily go head-to-head with Lea Porcelain’s masterful noise-led punk. ‘Planes Trains (Capitol Operational)’ is an exquisite, 7-minute example of Vanilla Franco going all out with their song lengths, providing an immersive song that never for a moment felt repetitive or has gotten old, in spite of the fact that it is built on relatively few moving parts. The main riff, massive with reverb, an unerring drums and bass groove, and some out-there vocals from Quinn all make this cut worth its weight. The sprawling riffs on ‘Learn Something’ are an absolute joy to behold. Snaky, intricate, tinny, and charismatic guitars land on the song’s first 3 and a half minutes of instrumental menace. One of the album’s most exciting songs is also 7 minutes long, and is placed on the bottom of the playlist.

The album’s first half is also full of immediate winners. ‘Building Pressure’ starts the album with Prodigy-esque intensity. Between the song’s break-neck pace and pounding, noisy riffs, Quinn’s mad statesman vocals make one amazing show. ‘Picnic’ has equally exuberant riffs that are more sludgy and less industrial than the industrial, with vocal ad-libs that call to mind the Leicester madness of Kasabian riffier moments. My personal favorites happen to be ‘Good Time’ and ‘The Arena’. ‘Good Time’ is a blissfully hypnotic rock number that comes loaded with dangerous riffs and spacy guitars, also with a nuanced arrangement that’s mostly pounding and fixated on a groove, venturing outside that frame only to break the pace. With an amazing surprise, ‘Good Time’ should prove to you that Joey Quinn is a skilled and courageous songwriter. As ‘Good Time’ proved to me that Quinn is a worthy songwriter, ‘The Arena’ proved that he is a creative guitarist. With the song’s spaghetti western tones and neat, tight riffs, ‘The Arena’ creates an atmosphere that’s unmatched anywhere on the album.

Traction is an absolute banger of a debut. Vanilla Franco has a truly fresh sound that’s at once familiar and easy to fall for, and fresh, new, and daring. Masterminded by a slick songwriter, Vanilla Franco is not only here to stay, they are here to conquer and to shine.