Album Review: Violens ‘True’
Jacob Graham of The Drums was quoted to saying “If reverb didn’t exist, we wouldn’t have bothered trying to start a band.” There’s something about this style that has always had a therapeutic effect for anyone that dives headfirst into it. The word itself, reverberation, implies the persistence of sound after the original sound is produced. In it’s truest essence, it is the ability of sound to continually fill a space. And perhaps that what it is really doing; filling not only the empty spaces in a room but also the empty spaces inside the listener. Whether it is insecurity in the present, a longing for the past, or uncertain thinking about the future, the root cause is always that something is missing. And it’s different for everyone. There is no rating for personal tragedy and feelings between people. Heartbreak is the same, no matter the cause. And perhaps that’s why the music is so compelling and rewarding, the fact that when you drown in the sound, you know deep down that you are connected to someone else doing the exact same thing. Loneliness is only absolute if you lose your ability to think about others.
I believe in connectedness. Friendships and relationships are decided far before a first meeting takes place. But I also believe in choice. Life may put you in the same room as someone, but ultimately, action is required to push that connectedness into whatever it is meant to become. So how is it that these are my thoughts at the end of a holiday weekend, when the majority of us are hungover and sun burnt? I’m not really sure to be honest; sometimes I guess I just think about things. The only thing I know for sure is I’ve been listening to True, Violens’ follow up to 2010’s Amoral, for the past few hours.
A heavy dose of dreamy reverb along with a mix in of garage grungy undertones, the album strikes a cord with my emotional core in just the right way. From the first wavy guitar chords on opening track “Totally True”, the album has an inviting sound that retains balance throughout. The opening track lets the sound tell the meaning, offering a simple chorus that doesn’t need any more words. “True. I want to know that you’re true.”
The first quarter of the album, which includes tracks “Der Microarc”, “When to Let Go” and “Sariza Spring”, all display the easy listening style perfected on the opener. They flow seamlessly from one to the next, so much so that you might not even notice them changing. Then on track 5, “Every Melting Degree”, a garage/grunge rock style is implemented as an undertow to the wave of echoed reverb. This aggressive guitar carries through the next few tracks, “Unfolding Black Wings” and “All Night Low”. While no longer light and airy, this change of pace works and is perfectly placed in the middle of the 12-track album.
But perhaps the most impressively crafted song on the album is the second to last track entitled “Through the Window”. Speaking so much with hardly a change in tone or beat and ending just as quickly as it starts with the music literally dropping off, it represents this album in a nutshell. True is not an album of anthems or lead singles. It’s an album of yin and yang. Balance and wholeness. Thoughtfulness and melancholia. And it needs to get into your rotation sooner than later. Grab your copy from Slumberland Records, and listen to “Through the Window” below.
Written by Greg Dahman