There’s nothing like a touch of nostalgia to help make the listener warm to a band, and if that’s anything to go by anyone who listens to ‘Hungry Ghost’, the latest from Australia’s Violent Soho, should instantly like it as the band do their level best to channel basically every band you ever loved from the early nineties over the course of the record.
From the get go the Nirvana meets early Blink sound is a joy to behold, with opener ‘Dope Calipso’ sounding curiously reminiscent to the massively under-rated sound of Box Car Racer. There’s no point trying to avoid it, but the intentionally off key nasal vocals are strikingly similar to those of a certain Mr T DeLonge meaning that further comparisons to his bands are inevitable and, also, that consequently the vocal aspects of Soho Underground will be either instantly loved or hated by most listeners.
Moving on, ‘Lowbrow’ is an unashamedly good fun grunge romp that sees the Aussie mob crank the distortion to full and smash the bejesus out of some powerchords on a track just begging to be bounced around to. Further nineties influences rear their heads throughout the song with elements of Smashing Pumpkins and early Offspring being fairly prominent. Next ‘Covered in Chrome’ staggers delightfully from an understated vocally driven number to a wall of sound in your face rager before things get brooding and expansive on the intro to ‘Saramona Said’ before easing into a classic slice of lo-fi garage indie.
Things get gloriously upbeat on ‘In The Aisle’ as Violent Soho bring the grunge pop party vibe full force on one of the albums standout tracks. Waves of ethereal wailing guitars then strike the listener throughout ‘OK Catherdral’ as Pixies become the latest influence to show themselves.
It’s difficult to really criticise any of the tracks on offer here, each is infinitely enjoyable in its own right, with the only minor issue being that you’re so busy taking a trip down memory lane and spotting the various distinctive influences that it becomes tricky to judge or gauge Violent Soho on their own merit. Equally there is a slight lack of any of the songs massively making themselves stand out as potential single material or as being hugely memorable. ‘Gold Coast’ and ‘Liars’ are both prime examples of this.
Fans of any form of grunge will struggle not to love this offering, ditto for anyone who is old enough to remember the original grunge boom. Despite minor aforementioned problem with some of the tracks being a touch anonymous, the potential to crank up ‘Hungry Ghosts’ through some headphones and just let yourself get lost in the music and the moment is one not to be missed.
‘Hungry Ghosts’ by Violent Soho is out now on SideOneDummy.
Words by Dane Wright (@MrDaneWright)