Monday, 26 August 2013

VIOLENT SOHO - ALBUM REVIEW

Violent Soho - Hungry Ghost (I Oh You Records) 
Violent Soho - Hungry Ghost

Release Date: 6th September

OK, here's my hat, please give whatever you can spare. Y'see, it's like this, I think Violent Soho could be huge on the basis of this latest album and I really, really, really want to book them to do a show in the UK but they're flippin' Aussies and that's gonna cost a pretty penny. So, during the course of this review I aim to convince you to chip in and then we can make some dreams come true (mainly mine but hey, it's gotta be my turn soon right?). For an album of such weight and depth, opening track 'Dope Calypso' actually starts off fairly gently before a jackhammer of a riff announces the band's intentions and the Dinosaur Jr meets Pavement song unfolds around us (slightly odd for a song that is seemingly about a drug infused ice lolly but that might be lost in translation). 'Lowbrow' is perhaps a more straight forward indie-punk-slacker anthem but it's easy to draw comparisons with the Wrens or the Ataris which, in my book, is a very good thing indeed. By track three, 'Covered In Chrome', Violent Soho are hitting their stride, largely by being the first band I have come across to take the inspiration that the Pixies gave to so many and, well, just get what Frank and the gang were really trying to say. A hypnotic, bass driven verse is exploded by a skin burningly loud and intense chorus that will ignite more than one mosh pit on their forthcoming tour.

There is a brief if much needed respite during the opening bars of 'Saramona Said' before a loose but melodious riff emerges and vocalist Luke Boerdam's croaks and croons over the top in a way that Swim Deep thought they had made their own this summer. Recent single 'In The Aisle' has been reviewed elsewhere on this blog so I won't go in to much detail but it should be noted that this song makes more sense in the context of the rest of the album which is always a good thing. At roughly the halfway mark, 'OK Cathedral' approaches with a lackadaisical but almost irritated tone in a way that the Lemonheads built the prototype for. Wait just one minute though, what's this? 'Fur Eyes' is a pop tune. Jangly guitars, clean drums and vocal harmonies show that these guys know how to take things down and get tender with the ladies. Or the men. Times can get lonely. Fret not though, 'Gold Coast' comes scratching and snarling out of the starting blocks like a remastered early Green Day track with chugging guitars and a sense of malevolence that is perfectly showcased by the angry attempts at backing vocal harmonies.

As we approach the end of this journey with 'Liars', Violent Soho get back to their heavy, riff driven roots but never lose the melody or the importance of actually having a song behind the noise. The energy continues on 'Eightfold', a more Sonic Youth-ish approach to song writing with hints at early, early Smashing Pumpkins material, especially when the song explodes about two thirds of the way through. As we finish up with the album title track, it's clear that Violent Soho have taken their time to craft something worthwhile, something complex and something that has come from the gut as well as from the head. These four Queenslanders (Queenslandians?) have created an album that will stand the test of time and, more importantly, will stand up to being toured relentlessly so we really ought to give them that opportunity. In all seriousness, I can't get them to these shores, not even close, but the more of us that buy the record the better chance there will be of them scratching enough together to pay for those plane tickets and then all they need is a place to stay...


Live Dates:

24th October - Great Northern, Byron Bay
25th October - Oxford Art Factory, Sydney
26th October - The Zoo, Brisbane
31st October - Mojo's, Fremantle
1st November - Amplifier, Perth
2nd November - Uni Bar, Adelaide
4th November - Corner Hotel, Melbourne


(NB All shows with Straight Arrows)

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