Outside of AC/DC, music from Australia never really get its due over here in the UK, with great bands like Powderfinger and Silverchair receiving minimal press coverage in the mainstream and going largely ignored. This certainly is no reflection on the quality of the music they produce (Silverchair's 2003 masterpiece Diorama definitely sticks out as a highlight of the last ten years for me). Violent Soho are yet another Australian band with no shortage of awesome tunes that will hopefully buck the trend.
The album opens with the scuzzy punk drawl of Here Be Dragons, which recalls the heavier moments of The Vines. It has raw screamed vocals and it means business, sticking to a loud/quiet formula popularised by the grunge bands of the early nineties. The second track and recent single Jesus Stole My Girlfriend carries on in a similar vein, with simplistic guitar melodies and a loud, cheeky chorus sitting proudly next to a quiet palm muted verse. This album wears influences like Nirvana and Weezer on its sleeve, which is no bad thing, seeing as both bands stopped rocking like this long ago, for one reason or another. The album is chock-full of brilliant loud rock songs like this, with Muscle Junkie and Slippery Tongue being further standout tracks.
Violent Soho are not a simple one trick pony band like so many others are content to be though. Outsider is a tender acoustic song with lethargic vocal melodies and incredibly grunge-y lyrics like "they don't know, they don't care, they don't even understand" It is, quite simply, the soundtrack to every angsty, self-pitying teenagers life. The albums closing song Narrow Ways shows a good mix of the heavy, fast grunge rockers and the acoustic side, which works brilliantly and shows versatility that most bands aren't bothered with these days. These songs both bring to mind the softer works of Alkaline Trio, which again is no bad thing.
At only just over 30 minutes, Violent Soho's debut album is a brief, but solid onslaught, offering big, fast and rude rockers as well as sensitive balladry. There is not a bad song in this collection and they seem worthy successors to the bands their sound alludes to. Rock'n'roll in 2010 does not need saving, but if it did, these would be the boys to do it.