Given that most of Australia’s alternative music scene as of late has devolved into an over-saturation of bog-standard, chug-happy metalcore bands, it’s a real shame that Violent Soho have been beavering away in the underground for the last decade-plus to little fanfare. With fourth album ‘WACO’ that’s unlikely to change, but it’s another solid clutch of grungy tracks nonetheless.
Parallels can be drawn between the Brisbane quartet and a band like FIDLAR or SWMRS, except with Violent Soho, there’s a welcome dynamism that elevates them above the competition. ‘Blanket’ and ‘Like Soda’ are welcomingly fresh takes on the traditional slacker-grunge sound, while there’s a rickety playfulness to the likes of ‘Viceroy’, showing at least a shade of experimentation compared to obvious reference points.
These two styles represent the main binary of the album – there’s hardly ever a deviation from one or the other, meaning that repetitiveness is inevitable. But Violent Soho combat this with a prominent hook-driven approach to songwriting. The breezy ‘No Shade’ ebbs and flows with a heady infectiousness, and ‘Evergreen’’s punkier sensibilities are extremely welcome. It also helps that there’s much more a clarity in Luke Boerdam’s vocals, offering a poppier touch but never subtracting any grit.
It’s a refreshing take on a genre that’s recently been done to death, and Violent Soho do an excellent job on ‘WACO’ of injecting some much-needed variation on an already stale sound. It’s not touching anything near true innovation, but in terms of what it is, ‘WACO’ is top-drawer stuff.
‘WACO’ by Violent Soho is released on March 18th on SideOneDummy.
Words by Luke Nuttall (@nuttall_luke)