Review : Violens - True
Paste MagazineHazy synth-pop trios may be a dime a dozen, but there’s something really special when an album like Violens’ True finds its way into the world. From the very first note of the Brooklyn-based band’s sophomore LP, it’s clear that the album isn’t messing around. Through carefree crescendos and poignant harmonies, the album stays true to its roots, but in a more constructed manner, most notably in the opener “Totally True” and the distorted “Every Melting Degree.”
Drawing comparisons to Phoenix and a heavier Antlers would be easy, but there is a certain dynamic that pushes Violens towards a more garage-based sound than the new wave, dreampop bands that have piled up high in 2012. The band isn’t afraid to step back from what has worked for it in the past. “Lavender Forces” is a dark, cinematic score that would fit in a Christopher Nolan film and would make Hans Zimmer proud. ...full text
Consequence of SoundEarly press for Violens’ sophomore album, True, has drawn comparisons to early ’90s UK acts such as Pale Saints and Ride. Although the shoegaze comparisons will guarantee that some of the genre’s fetishists will check out the record, such labeling really is a disservice. While True is more focused than their all-over-the-place debut, Amoral, it still continues the Brooklyn trio’s tradition of defying classification.
There’s more to True than ethereal stylings, and its most remarkable moments are the twists given to the tried-and-true shoegaze formula. On “When to Let Go”, for example, the swirly haze exudes a ’60s girl group lushness, and “Watch the Streams” evokes the harmonized guitar pop of the same decade. The harmonized jangle of “Der Microarc” is downright cheerful as its bassline pulsates along. On “All Night Low”, fast-paced punk rhythms pummel with an intensity that agitates reverb-soaked guitars into a discordant frenzy. It’s a nightmarish spin on dream pop that brings True to its moment of climax....full text
PitchforkViolens are adept at shape-shifting appropriation. The NYC band's lead singer, Jorge Elbrecht, was a founding member of the now-dormant "art collective" Lansing-Dreiden, who last signed off full-length-wise with 2006's murky, equally new wave and OMD-worshipping The Dividing Island. Violens' 2010 debut, Amoral, ditched the shadows and fog for pop-rock bounce and Boo Radleys impressions that were impressively faithful, if not totally memorable. For the band's follow-up, True, they've moved to perpetually in-vogue indie pop revivalist mecca Slumberland. In general, Elbrecht and his latest project haven't strayed too far from the same sonic mission announced circa L-D's excellent The Dividing Island cut "Two Extremes": All sonic roads still end shortly before Bill Clinton first took residence in the White House, the previous Echo and the Bunnymen comparisons joined here by takes on the jangly roar of first-wave shoegazers like Pale Saints, Slowdive, and Ride....full text
The owl magViolens are New York’s preeminent pop classicists. You might be tempted to shrug them off as yet another eighties revival gang (which at this point verges slightly on the uncool), but the Duran Duran echoes of their second proper LP are only the tip of the iceberg. What lies beneath is incorrigible devotion to formal beauty of pop songsmanship: the group’s principal songwriter, Jorge Elbrecht, has an uncanny touch for melody, harmony and counterpoint, making Violens’ songs recall times when structural innovation and catchiness went hand in hand.
The album’s opening track, “Totally True,” outlines their sound in a nutshell: jangly guitars hold up angelic, multi-vocal hooks that recall the sophisti-pop standard-bearers Prefab Sprout. In the songs that follow we can hear subtle nods to shoegaze (“All Night Low”), The La‘s (in one of the album’s standouts, “When To Let Go”), and even Disco Inferno‘s “The Last Dance” (in the penultimate track). And while the LP’s eclecticism and immaculate production are impressive, it is the outstanding songwriting that ties it all together, in what is certainly one of the strongest full-length efforts released this year so far....full text
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