Violens – Amoral

Rating: ★★★★☆

For years Violens have slowly been compiling EPs and mixtapes, all pleasing to a greater audience, allowing them to build up a fan base before releasing Amoral.  That it hit the shores of the UK is a sure sign that the band owes a great deal more of their musical influences to the British than to most American bands.  Regardless, they’ve earned their successes and praise, and these twelve songs remain just another example of the band’s craft.

Amoral opens with this ridiculously bass line, and then a twangy guitar comes in, joined by a bit of echo atmospherics. Here is where you notice the British touches, as the band seems to pay homage to the acid house/pop blend of bands like The Stone Roses.  You can almost dance to it, but the actual soundscape of opener, “The Dawn of Your Happiness is Rising,” is ultimately more rewarding than mile dance numbers.  They’ll stick with this stylistic approach, adding bits of funk to go along with a more soothing vocal, as they do in “Full Collision.”  Easily you can see the swaying hips of every hipster in town, especially when the gently obscured “oh oh ohs” rise and fall in the background.

“Acid Reign” is an easy choice for your modern single, as the guitar line definitely has this driving sensibility to it, but as is par for the course, the band covers the easily accessible pop elements beneath clever piano lines, adding a bit more of creativity.  Still, the gunfire drumming is phenomenal, which probably helps establish a good rapport with audiences looking for a little jangle and shimmy with their singles. Another winner of a track, though they all remain as such, is “Violent Sensation Descends,” a song that seems to hold a past with the darker psychedelic pop bands of the 60s, typically British, again.  But, what differentiates this track from simple rehash is the fact that the vocal delivery has a warmth to it, but in a catchy modern manner.  Something about this song will stick with you for days, or more.

Let’s not look at this record as merely a collection of singles, as that’s clearly not the point of Violens.  You can trace the band’s work all the way back to their previous careers in Lansing-Dreiden, what was then deemed an art-project of sorts.  Having that mentality allows for the band to experiment a bit more with modern song cycles, and while you’ll still find straight pop songs like “Another Strike Restrained,” the band still has it within themselves to offer up dark mini-collages such as the album’s title track, “Amoral.”  It’s their experimentation within modern boundaries that makes it all seem so clever, and unique. After all, that’s what we seem to be looking for from our modern indie heroes, a willingness to push boundaries of various genres, and Amoral does precisely that.   Perhaps this is yet another juncture in the band’s career before they shift gears and confound us all again, but they’ve earned that right.  Who really cares what how they shift and change when they can write pop songs so intimate and challenging simultaneoulsy?

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/06/03-Acid-Reign-1.mp3]

Download: Violens – Acid Reign [MP3]

Violens – Violent Sensation Descends

Occasionally, and I do mean that, it pays to have friends from New York. Quite like Austin, there are hundreds of bands recording music; all of them trying to make it big. Fortunately, I found my way through all those bands to discover Violens. Apparently, some of these members come from the band Lansing-Dreiden, which wrote really intellectual psych-pop. This is of the same vein, but just a little bit darker.  Let’s hope we hear more from these guys. 

You can get more info on the band, and listen to a few more tracks by visiting Violens MySpace page. Or visit RCRD•LBL’s website to download a tune (sorry folks, they forbid us from posting it here… we know, lame).