The Good-Humored Sydney Dance Rockers Float Us Away
Name: Van She
Where They’re From: Sydney, Australia
Genre: Synth pop
When They Started: 2005
Most like: Cut Copy, Phoenix
Sounds like: What the Jamaican tourist board wishes it could use for its next ad campaign.
Van She are a quartet from Sydney who have been around the block, at least in terms of Australian exposure, with a hit single, “Kelly” and a debut EP that hit top of the year lists back in 2006. But their latest album, Idea of Happiness, arrived earlier this month with the shimmery ease of newbies. It might be that guitarist Nick Routledge has started doing all the vocals, lending his louche devil-may-care attitude to the infectious, yet kickback groove of lead singles “Jamaica” and “Idea of Happiness.” Happiness is an island in the Caribeean, where steel drums play and you’re hearing this song.
The story behind Van She’s name gives you a sense of the straightforwardly fun music message of the band. It’s actually a modification of bassist Matt Van Schie’s last name. Matt, who’s of Dutch descent, told Nick that the “Van” stands for “from,” so they chose Van She because, as Nick put it, “we’re all from women.” And then, with their latest album’s delicious combination of disco, yacht rock, and r&b, it’s not so hard to see why they chose their album to be called Idea of Happiness.