THURSDAY, JUNE 21, 2012|
Posted by: Andrew Gruttadaro
For True, Violens second full-length album, Jorge Elbrecht and company decided to wholeheartedly make the switch to new wave Brit-pop from the hybrid design that formerly distinguished them on their debut, Amoral. All of True's songs feature shimmering guitars, gurgling bass lines, and distanced ethereal vocals. This shape-shifting act is only sparingly successful. The lead track, "Totally True," is a great example of how a band can find ways to be captivating and unique within a currently overwrought genre. On the song, Violens is able to build toward the chorus and then release with a feeling of exasperated exhale. It's brilliant in the way it unites performer and listener in shared catharsis.
Unfortunately these moments of ecstasy are weighed down by True's lack of diversity. Most of the songs sparkling guitars get old quickly to the point where youre relieved to hear the distortion of "All Night Low" because its at least a break from the overabundance of reverb.
True is a 12-track narrative that at times feels like one long track due to the countless segues and interludes. The albums cover is for the most part a picture of a man and woman overlapped, asleep in a bed. Which is fitting, because the album itself feels like a fever dream. Beginning with easy-to-swallow, straightforward pop songs like "Totally True" and "When To Let Go," the album takes a turn at the interlude, "Lavender Forces," into an inky realm -- and things only get darker from there. The songs that follow "Lavender Forces" -- "Unfolding Black Wings" and "All Night Low" -- are some kind of ethereal punk pop about inner-turmoil. Whereas Elbrecht expressed a common paranoia of not being liked by others on the first few tracks, the cross-fading vocals on "Unfolding Black Wings" suggest a paranoia in Elbrecht that he may not be able to trust himself (an idea that is much graver).
The palpable dread continues through the next few songs until the end of "Lucent Caries," the second interlude on the album, on which Elbrecht and his band seem to "wake up." What follows are the lighter, much less tense songs "Through the Window" and "So Hard To See," which feel like tracks of relief due to the realization that all the grimness was just a dream.
But while Violens succeed in culminating True on a relatively positive note, "So Hard To See" really just serves as a reminder of all the opportunities Violens missed to make their album fuller and better. "So Hard To See," which features interesting breakdowns and a deviation from Violens usual instrumentation, is the strongest and most exploratory track on the album. It's just a shame that they waited until the last song to experiment with their formula.