Tuesday, 27 January 2009

violens: if you believe you're strong enough

Violens (pronounced Vy-lens) were brought to my attention by Transparent Magazine. I popped down to the Barfly that week to catch the group play with Boy Crisis at Us and Them and they left the lasting impression out of the two. Take nothing away from Boy Crisis, their myspace description amuses me greatly, Violens just happened to be what I needed at the time. Their sound is a lot easier to seperate from the sound of 2008/9.

Built around a sturdy rhythm section, nothing too flashy I might add. Just shades of The Smiths evoked by the bass. I'm drawn like a fly on a flouresecent high to the vocals which fit the lyrics perfectly. Hushing in new romantic eras with harmonies reminiscent of The Zombies providing an intricate casing for songs, each containing a few lyrical nuggets which get secreted in the inside jacket pocket of your mind (see my title line - a reference to Violent Sensation Descends.) Take Spectator & Pupil, infatuation unravelling in a second as the girl opens her mouth (I've been waiting for this day/Don't kill it with what you say') before a chorus capturing perfectly the way you can stare at somebody and not be listening to a single thing they say.

Violens - Already Over

The opening strums don't really give much of a clue as to what follows. Don't make any hasty judgements in the first twenty seconds. The man in the middle, Jorge Elbrecht, unleashes a series of a soaring vocal lines that dance from one side of the mix to the other. When the chorus kicks in, the backing is layered to perfection before breaking down into harmonies that could go on forever. They don't, the song is called Already Over. It was never going to go on forever, it's good when things don't outstay their welcome.

The EP is emphatically worth the £2.38 it cost me off Amazon Digital. I encourage you to do the same.

People have mentioned Prefab Sprout as a nice reference point for Violens, and it's fair I suppose. If I had to sell Violens to somebody who was uncertain, I'd suggest The Shins with added melancholy and a squeeze of George Michael. Anyway, the Prefab Sprout reference gives me the opportunity to present my favourite song of all-time when I was four years old. I use to climb on top of our kitchen chair and reach for From Langley Park to Memphis. Thankfully I never had to skip tracks to reach my favourite, The King of Rock 'n' Roll. Hot Dog. Jumping Frog. Albuquerque. Best chorus ever. One of the best videos for sure. I have drunken footage of myself singing said song at a party 16 years later which I can't actually remember doing but don't for a minute think you're going to see that.

Also, the boys at Transparent are putting on a night tomorrow at The Lexington on Pentonville Road. I could almost conceive myself as a regular there, if there was more stuff on well regularly. Tomorrow sees Crystal Antlers headline with support from Loverman and the latest kids under Sahil's trusty wings, Ark People. You can have downloads after I've been to the gig. It's going to be a sell out so get down early.


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