Melodic, and psychedelic: Violens – Amoral

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Although this may be the debut Album by Violens, they’ve been creating sound waves for quite some time, and been claimed and classified by various groups since 2008. They went on to produce several mix tapes which immediately showcased their diversity of sounds, effortlessly swinging from some captivating drum beats, to some more dreamy, yet disturbing moments of a past that can only just be remembered. Interesting, but it was a cacophony of noise. This craftwork, accompanied by an extra two years of development, experimentation and direction has resulted in Amoral.

The variety has continued, but this time it seems to merge throughout the album, often within singles themselves. There is an oddity in that their sounds which certainly hark back to a time when synth pop was at a peak in the eighties, yet at the same time, provide a fresh feel that could even be described as cutting edge. Amoral sounds like an harmonised hallucination, with all of the tracks having a feel of distance with the expansive vocals from front man Jorge Elbrecht prominent and adding to the feeling of attempts to reach for something that isn’t quite there. This is done subtlety and intelligently differently each time however.

The opener The Dawn of Your Happiness Is Rising’ gives the sense of openness and the imagery of escape, assisted by the high and crisp guitar notes, while ‘Acid Reign’, certainly the most conventional indie single on the track and easily the most rhythmic and focussed, proceeds to take us on a trip, in both senses of the word, as the pun may well suggest. Echoes surround the song, emphasising some of the darker undertones. The band themselves have described their influences as ‘dreams and nightmares’. There always seems to be a sound lying below, providing us with a deeper sound and leading to comparisons with a modern Joy Division or New Order.

Progressively as the melodic, psychedelic moments continue further down the album, the multiple genres converge into something of a mesh. The dramatic rises and catastrophic falls begin to disappear towards the end of the album, becoming rather too soft. The dreamy atmosphere falls very close to slipping into a fully-fledged sleep, or nightmare. That being said, the attempts to combine indie, synth pop and the electronic genres have generally paid off. The variety of the album remains its defining factor, to such an extent that there seems to be a genuine confusion as to what the highlight of the album is.

Amoral comes out as something of an organised, inspiring mess, not that it’s a bad thing. They’ve shown us what they can do with some of the more up-beat and layered tracks and the originality is there from the beginning, yet the focus is still lacking. Given some more time and co-ordination, Violens seem sure to be able to craft engineer some excellent and hypnotic music.

7/10

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