Vinok – elephant girl
Want something meaningful in your rock music? Then you will find it in Vinok, a Ukrainian-American indie-rock band that focuses on social justice, and has the pedigree in co-founder, lead vocalist, and keyboardist, Nathalie, to sell it. Nathalie has worked as a mental health professional with those who have experienced severe abuse. Don’t expect this to be some sort of soft-speak delivery to coax you to hear the message. No, Vinok makes their point with a hammer, pounding home the injustices facing so many. Skeptical? Well take a listen to Elephant Girl (seen/heard here), the band’s latest single, and you’ll be sold! Lyrics here drive home the value of a female person with a disability, laying waste to any attempts to silence her voice or stop her actions.
While Nathalie provides her perspective with her unique voice, co-founder and drummer Ilya’s experience as a journalist covering the violence carried out by authoritarian regimes in Eastern Europe and the resulting heart-wrenching poverty left from them adds credence to the band’s social justice message. If that were not enough, the fabulous bassist here, Anton, comes from war-torn Eastern Ukraine and has found salvation in making music. With forceful vocals, powerful but properly mixed instrumentation, and a message that should send your mind to new locales to ponder our world, Vinok leaves a great impression and provides hope for a world that at times seems near the brink of ultimate destruction.
Listening back to the band’s early singles and last year’s EP, Wise Blood, you can definitely hear a transformation in the band’s maturing sound. Vinok is on a journey that is not yet complete, but it’s one definitely worth following. There is a presence to the overall sound that is as if it was recorded live to track. That is by design. From Vinok:
“We aspire, as much as possible, to be a live authentic band; meaning that we make an emphasis on using real instruments and keeping the electronics to a minimum. We want that live energy to be presented in our tracks. We’ve been also looking for less popular rhythms and song structures. Also, this album is with heavier tunes as rock seems to be dying these days. We want to have the full freedom to breathe and experiment with sounds and song structures.”
Lyrically, Vinok takes on the world’s failures to look at the facts and discern the truth. An overarching guiding light for their music is this quote from American author Flannery O’Connor:
“The truth does not change according to your ability to stomach it.”
That’s something so many people today really need to take to heart.
You can find more information on Vinok by heading up to their website, which includes most links. There are some purchase links missing here, although links to Apple Music are available. Missing is the link to Amazon and the band’s new bandcamp.com site. Bandcamp now includes the 2019 4-song EP, Wise Blood, mentioned earlier, as well as two singles from 2017, and of course, Elephant Girl.
This is a young band, with talented musicians, great songwriting, and magnificent, soaring vocals. It’s one that I hope sticks around. They exist for all of the “right” reasons, not just to make music, but to make music that matters. Pick up some Vinok tunes today and begin a journey to support social, economic, and governmental change!
Note: With Covid-19 still around, probably to be with us for some time, artists like Vinok and many others need your purchases to keep their heads above water. If your situation allows it, consider purchasing more in these tough times. –Vodka