On their new album True, Brooklyn’s Violens want to be many things. Covering ground from psychedelic 60′s to 80′s new wave – from contemporary (uhh, 60′s influenced) dance-y, dream-pop to the avant-garde. On one hand you’d imagine such eclecticism to be a daunting exercise for an album’s worth of duration. Yet, it’s a nod to the band’s musical versatility and competent songwriting abilities that they’re almost able to pull it off. True washes over in warm echoes of sound, the aural equivalent of a hot shower. It unabashedly feels great, but it’s also kind of forgettable.
The album kicks off on a series of high points. Opener, “Totally True” engages and soothes the listener with its calming-pop-jangle and repetitive vocal beckoning. “I want to know that your true” sings Jorge Elbrecht (vocals/guitar) in warm-hushed tones. “Der Microarc” continues the smooth-as-silk trend, except this time there’s a touch of mystery hidden beneath the pop-screen. Violens clearly have a moody side, only they’re too busy being pretty to ever fully divulge their darker tendencies. Well, that is with the exception of the purely-haunted instrumental track, “Lucent Caries” – a strange pit stop in the album’s latter half.
Other highlight’s include the driving, post-punk skip of “Unfolding Black Wings” and the playfully buoyant hooks of “When To Let Go”. Meanwhile, “Every Melting Degree” clocks in as True’s definitive choice-cut. Featuring a bright vocal melody, one that wouldn’t seem amiss on your average Tame Impala record and a dose of guitar/rhythmic bombast; it’s the sole track here that really commands your attention.
In a nutshell, this is sort of my main gripe with this record. The songs are ear-pleasingly hooky, the performances competent, yet everything has a certain reverb-ed out sameness that (at times) sabotages its content. It’s also front-loaded with their best songs, saving the more novel and experimental stuff for later. The effect isn’t maddening, it just makes for a relatively forgettable conclusion.
With True, Violens have managed to create a warm and engaging record. It’s ear candy, but with a sense of depth and authenticity. The band hasn’t quite seemed to pin down their identity yet, but they have the tools to do it.
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