Calling new-wave outfit Violens children of the 1980s would be a vast understatement. The New York trio is so enamored with ’80s musical styles that it’s almost unbelievable. On their debut full-length release, “Amoral,” the band breaks out the synthesizers and recalls the decade that music aficionados either loved or hated.
Violens’ influences aren’t so much influences as they are would-be emulations. The band is one cult following and some eyeliner away from being The Cure with a hankering for synth. For all anyone knows, “Amoral” could be the spearhead for an all-out ’80s
“Acid Reign” kicks the album into gear with aggressive guitar licks and a rapid-fire bass line. Lead singer Iddo Arad’s voice echoes across the track as lyrics meld together with the assistance of mic effects. The song’s bombastic nature surges through the speakers and increases the album’s intensity.
“Amoral’s” introductory track, “The Dawn of Your Happiness is Rising,” while slightly cheesy because of the giddy lyrics, is incredibly catchy. The song features jubilant bass lines and uplifting vocals that wouldn’t sound out of place as a B-side on U2’s “Boy.”
Even with all the good of the ’80s, there is bound to be some bad. The opening of “It Couldn’t Be Perceived” showcases none other than the long forgotten and certainly not missed saxophone solo. The sax’s lonesome wail rises up as if included to pay homage to sax master Kenny G. The rest of the track is filled with soaring vocals, but the unfortunate solo hangs as an omnipresent specter.
Violens makes a valiant attempt with their debut album but falls short in originality and creativity. The band’s incorporation of used and abused musical themes does little for the progress of their music.