5.0 out of 5 stars Dense turbulent rock you should investigate,
For my money one of the greatest lost secrets of rock ‘n roll, The Violet Burning produced an absolute classic with this album. A triple guitar line-up helps to produced a thickly layered tapestry that reveals new sounds constantly with each new listen. Theres not a track here that is worth fast forwarding. If there is a criticism, its that the mid-tempo nature of the album is pretty uniform, but it avoids repetitiveness by virtue of the variety of sounds on offer.
The closest muscial reference-point is probably some of Radiohead of “The Bends” era – particularly “Bones”, “Planet Telex” & “Bullet Proof”, with a sound that in turn growls, shimmers, and turns to sludge in great dollops of almost grungey thickness. One track even uses a dodgy russian guitar pedal to ‘channel’ a mexican radio station playing opera- “Arabic Tremolo Radio”.
Michael Pritzl has a great and highly distinctive voice that can soar, if not like say Thom Yorke or Jeff Buckley, then certainly with its own wistful beauty.
TVB are known as a christian band, but this album in particular (made after Michael went through a rough time with the church he was involved with, I understand) avoids any christianese and I can’t imagine even the most ardent athiest would struggle with them. The lyrics are dark, personal and yearning tinged with hope, with topics including betrayal, depression, despair and love.
5.0 out of 5 stars Intense,
The Violet Burnings third album was their first on a mainstream indie label, and is a million miles from the Christian subculture in which they had previously worked. Pritzls lyrics open up his heart and bare his soul with a frighteningly intense degree of self-revelation. This expression of abandonment and desolation might be a million miles from the platitudinous shiny happy Hallmark® certitudes of modern praise and worship, but can point to the psalmists outpourings for precedent. Musically too `The Violet Burning’ is an unsettling ride, with a three guitar line up resulting in a sound Pritzl referred to as `early feedback rock’. The Violet Burnings music is often compared to eighties acts like The Cure, but here they were more in tune with nineties grunge.
`crush’ which opens the album can be seen as a statement of intent. Fuzzed up distorted guitars caterwauling about over the hammer blows of the drums, as Pritzl steers a more conventional vocal course through the maelstrom, but with bleak lyrics that capture the desperation of a man whose hopes have been dashed and whos so far down that hes hit the bottom and doesn’t know if theres any way back: “I didn’t think I would fall so far down….Maybe I never understood; maybe I’m just not pure. You tell me how you love me. Was that a lie? I’m not sure.” `arabic tremolo radio’ features opera from the aforementioned radio station picked up and transmitted through an effects pedal. The delicate, even mellow opening of `blind’ comes as light relief after the opening onslaught, though lyrically Pritzl is still a lost man; “What went wrong? I’m blind, stone blind and I can’t reach you”. The respite is brief as the howl of pain that is `fever’ follows. `the sun and the sky’ and `low’ are perhaps most noticeable for their conventionality: classic rock riffing, guitar solos, and romantic imagery. The simpler, unlayered sound of `underwater’ gives the music a little more room to breathe. `eleven’ is a delicate interlude, that moves seamlessly into the similarly restrained `feel’ and although the album closes on a note of bleak desperation, the album as a whole is not without glimmers of hope. Perhaps not hope experienced, but at the least the possibility that there could be hope, if only it would be revealed.