Nov 30, 2010 Web Exclusive
It's been a long time since Lansing-Dreiden's The Dividing Island, and those who hold it in high esteem have been waiting for this solid encore. Lansing-Dreiden turned some people off with their anonymous art-collective presentation/shtick, but those who did bother to listen got an earful of bold and all-embracing pop music.
Violens have emerged from Lansing-Dreiden, with some of the same members, notably (and quite audibly) vocalist and creative force Jorge Elbrecht. The artifice was dropped, but not the sound: an omnivorous mash of different genres, Elbrecht's perfectly '80s vox (think Tears for Fears), and meticulous, deeply psychedelic production.
This is the first proper full-length from the band, after a few other offerings —an EP, a few odd singles, a march-happy runway score —and three songs in is about where the realization sets in that Violens have finally offered up that worthy successor to that previous work with that other band (you know, the one they're tired of seeing mentioned in reviews).
It's in the parings: the clanging, mangled 12-string that transitions to glassy synth-pop on "It Couldn't Be Perceived." The bad acid intro crashing into the pure pop harmony on "Violent Sensation Descends." Or how "Another Strike Restrained" blasts through a soft, synthy gauze with metal beats and shoegaze folds of guitars. It's Duran Duran on Creation Records; it's The Creation on Duran Duran records —a conscious, particular sound that's somehow effortlessly retro and bracingly modern.
It also flows like an album, in the classic sense. Ups and downs abound before "Generational Loss" closes, with a meandering, wilting bassline that's pure endorphins. As the album finally gives way to swaths of white fuzz and a field recording, you're left digging for words to describe it. Maybe Elbrecht gets it best on "Violent Sensation Descends," where he could easily be referring to the group's restless approach: "When it's forever you're forever bored/I'd rather be confused." (www.violens.net)
Author rating: 8/10
Average reader rating: 9/10
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