Violens – Amoral (Static Recital) 27/09/2010

October 25, 2010 by  

With first track ’The Dawn Of Your Happiness Is Rising’ sounding like a lost Shins number, all is looking good thus far for Violens on debut ‘Amoral’. Eerily similar to Shins number ‘Australia’, it has a hint of the (even more) contemporary Yeasayer to pull it away from copyright law and into an enjoyable jangle to open the album.

From here on in, however, you get a bit… lost. Lost in the 80’s too sadly. ‘Full Collision’ picks up the good parts of track one but the bad parts of that decade, with some truly awful guitar riffs and cheesy ‘made for TV’ pop hooks. Essentially it’s a song that could have been made for a crappy montage on a daytime soap, before 47 seconds of pointless instrumental noise.

‘Acid Reign’, a former single, does breathe some life into the album, a song which could have been a pre-cursor to some of the trippy baggy rave pop of the early 90s, and you feel if out at the time may have been a decent number, using piano riffs and New Order vocal synths over a driving tin like drum beat.

You get the impression that Violens take themselves too seriously. It’s like they believe they are a genuine ’80s chart act. Misdirected ambition unfortunately, shown quite clearly on the dreary magicians soundtrack of ‘Are You Still In The Illusion?’. Four songs in and I’m not fooled, especially when they throw in ’80s favourite the saxophone. No tired or tested formulae is left unexplored, and your smattered with clichéd, dated sounds much as you are throughout Amoral.

The difference between Violens, and say, a similar band Yeasayer, is that, particularly with ‘Odd Blood’, Yeasayer are fun. They actually use similar techniques and probably wanted to provide us with a similar end product, yet Yeasayer produced with a joy-de-vivre and buoyancy that you could warm to. Violens have only managed to frustrate the listener.

It isn’t all bad, with my personal guilty pleasure ‘Violent Sensation Descends‘, a scuzzy track with a huge dollop of Beach Boys/Shins harmonies before a return to that dirty scuzziness (yeh, it’s a word) which has a seduction akin to – dare I say it – the Doors.

This aside however, we’re left with an x-factor style tribute to New Order (Another Strike Restrained) and a lazy Spandau Ballet meets Duran Duran B-Side (Until It’s Unlit). Leave it out.

I’ve no doubt that Violens could produce something a lot better. Vocally, lead singer Jorge Elbrecht is a genuine talent, and a couple of tracks do show promise. The problem is, Amoral just isn’t very good. The band should redirect their focus to provide the listener with something more relevant, or at the very least more interesting, because even if you did like this sort of thing, you’d probably be listening to Hurts.

[rating:2]


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