Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Violens - True

Album review by KevW


Much like the batch of recent artists labelled as 'chillwave', this second album from New York trio Violens takes elements of the past thirty years of synth-pop, indie and shoegaze and pieces them together to create an entirely modern sound. The outcome is similar in that these songs glide by in a soft-focus manner with a hazey glow and effected vocals, but while 'True' may be a close cousin to chillwave, it can't really be labelled as such due to the heavier use of guitars and conventional songcraft, which is then filtered to create what should really be classed as dreampop, throwing a few elements of baggy in to the mix. It's a new sound but is made using so many well known elements that it seems familiar.

Nothing here quite matches the giddy rush of 'Acid Reign' from their debut, but there's no real need for the skip button either. 'True' is a solid, consistent and often beautiful album, with full but soft production, a bit like a fur-coated wall of sound. The opening pair of 'Totally True' and 'Der Microarc' tastefully blend 80s yacht rock with the ethereal sounds of the floppy-fringed guitar bands that followed a few years later. It's a warm and comfortable listen that owes its cosiness to the layered harmonies that feel like several voices smudged together, like a pastel drawing.

This of course means that there's not a great deal of bite to be found, but Violens aren't trying to make a punk record, they're aiming for a velvety texture and that's exactly what we get. 'Every Melting Degree' with its guitars that almost crunch is about as harsh as things get. Despite essentially being a dozen variations of the same theme, 'True' is a surprisingly colourful listen and there are moments when the songs soar, plus it works just as well as a piece to dip in and out of as it does to digest as a whole. I guess this makes it ideal for the digital age and is another example of how the band have taken inspiration from the past and moulded those influences into something bang up to date. To quote that beer ad, you could say that 'True' is tripled filtered with a smooth outcome, and it's definitely worth drinking to.



Free download: 'Der Microarc'

Free download: 'Unfolding Black Wings'

Stream the album in full

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