Violens - Amoral
A lack of real consistency prevents it from making any lasting impact.
NY buzz band Violens have steadily acquired the equally loved and loathed hipster tag and their debut album represents a critical test in attempting to justify the considerable hype surrounding them. There are a variety of influences at work here from the spaced out psychedelic weirdness of 'Congratulations' era MGMT to The Drums pristine surf pop, the constantly shifting nature of these dozen tracks indicative of a group of musicians at ease with simply putting out the music they love.
The first half of this record is by the far the stronger, kicking off with jaunty up tempo opener 'The Dawn Of Your Happiness Is Rising', a track which seamlessly dovetails into 'Full Collision' which bursts out unexpectedly with sheer unadulterated energy. It’s also home to the startling 'Ït Couldn’t Be Perceived' which builds from teasing instrumental to a dense guitar propelled disco groove and the subtly effective lead single 'Acid Reign' which screams daytime radio with it’s insistent hook.
Side two starts off well enough with perhaps the album’s standout track in the shape of 'Violent Sensation Descends', an unashamedly retro slice of dreamy pop teaming smatterings of organ with curious lyrics as lead singer Jorge confesses 'I have a weapon and a reason to'. From then on 'Amoral' loses it’s way as 'Could You Stand To Know?' pitches for epic but ends up trying to combine to many disparate elements whilst 'Trance Like Turn' plunges the other extreme by being overly simple. The wildly experimental title track, a predominantly instrumental piece punctuated by vocal samples is an intriguing stylistic detour whilst any human sounds are stripped away by the time feedback strewn closer 'Generational Loss' fades out of sight with what appears to be the sounds of waves lapping on a beach.
'Amoral' is not without its moments, but a lack of real consistency prevents it from making any lasting impact.