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Violens - True

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Artist: Violens

Album: True

Label: Slumberland

Review date: May. 25, 2012

I think I’m genetically allergic, right down on my DNA somewhere, to shitty pop songs. Unimaginative, boring dreck that a lot of other people seem to enjoy, but that makes me feel like the only human in a sea of pod people. “What’s wrong with everyone!? That melody is so nothing! Anyone could do that!,” shouting as some Vampire Weekend or chillwave album is attached to my brain.

Don’t get me wrong, I feel like an idiot for continually chastising bands for being complacent. But why aren’t there more bands looking into the musical landscape, saying to themselves, “Hmmm, what’s missing here? Where can I fit in?” and then making the music that needs to be made, instead of useless, unfun shit.

Violens is one of those bands that I occasionally write about here that makes me realize some of my strict constraints about pop music — one of them being that it should at least try to be unique — are sometimes curmudgeonly and unfair, that if you can write a good melody, who gives a shit if it’s not paradigms ahead of whatever is out now. As wonderful as NBC’s Community is, sometimes you need a more traditional How I Met Your Mother — you can still be creative and fun within more standard constraints. And constant calls for “something I’ve never heard before” are existentially damaging. Very few artists are going to be genuine aesthetically shattering. Spending one’s time waiting for those artists is a senseless hunt that many people get stuck in, their quarry continually eluding them.

This all may sound insulting in regards to Violens’ album, True, but it’s not meant to be. The point is that you can eventually find those paradigm-shattering bands not by sulking through the dreck, but by enjoying and taking in what’s good at the moment. Unique is good, and ideally you’d like the music you listen to or make to be both unique and catchy/enjoyable, but since the former is so rare, why hold all bands to that standard? Making a catchy song is hard enough, as is evidenced by the massive, swelling amounts of terrible albums that pile up and threaten to block out the sun. And True with its fey, reverb-soaked vocals, its synths and the jangle that recall the late 1980s/early 1990s when college rock started to segue into indie rock, is fun and catchy and worthy of an audience. Yeah, it’s a bit of a nostalgia trip, but The Wire model should be in effect — as one generation passes, the next takes up the empty mantle, filling in the necessary roles.

By Andrew Beckerman

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