Friday, 30 March 2018

EP Review | The Violet Kind | 'OXTR' (2018)

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An amalgamation of the more comprehensible side of shoegaze, the early years of Paramore and the sweet, sweet sounds of Californian lo-fi, Edinburgh trio The Violet Kind bring their unique blend of genre into one EP with an important message.

The premise behind this conceptual EP is simple: Shining a well-resounding light of the reality of rape culture, whilst advocating the survivors of these depravities, their bravery and for us to stand with those who have yet to speak out.

OXTR’s opening track, ‘Speakeasy’, begins with a smooth, soft rock-esque instrumental and is replicated in Katya Mansell’s crystal vocals. As is with the three remaining tracks on the record, the song picks up around one minute in with a distorted guitar break, signifying the premise of the hero and villain that the band aimed to produce through ascending and descending melody motifs; a mixture of hard and soft rock certainly goes a long way.

The second track ‘Good Behaviour’ flows seamlessly from the opening track, with emphasis on a jumpy bassline.  The Violet Kind successfully generate a beautiful choral landscape compromised of unconventional layering - most notably a merged piano/guitar melody – whilst not changing pace.

With only four songs on this EP, its clear that The Violet Kind have a knack for slowly introducing instruments until the first chorus, giving each member a spotlight for their respective crafts.

A highlight of the EP, ‘Coffee and Contemplation’ accentuates gorgeous indie melodies with a flanger/chorus delay to add a mystic undertone, wrapping effortlessly around the vocals and refrains. Mandell’s smooth voice doesn’t strain and matches the tone of the track perfectly whilst Liam Duffy and Kyle Hamilton emphasizes captivating instrumental breaks to support the track’s air of contemplation.

OXTR ends on a high-point, with the Best Coast-esque track ‘Science’. Beginning with feedback buzz that is quiet but defined, The Violet Kind embrace the emo that we all adored in the mid-to-late 2000s and entirely make it their own. It’s not whiny or bratty, it’s a trio of musicians trying – and succeeding – to bringing the importance of societies troubles in rape and sexual assault culture contained in a quartet of gorgeously smooth and comprehendible tracks.



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