The Violets, comprised of Alexis Mary, Joe Daniel and Andrew Moran, formed in 2003 in London, around the time that Joe founded their recording label, Angular Records, with his friend Joe Margetts. The label have had mild success signing bands such as Klaxons, These New Puritans and This Many Boyfriends despite losing stock when the warehouse was cruelly burnt in the 2011 summer riots. The band spent the first few years gigging, releasing their first single ‘Feast On You/Come Home’ in 2006. ‘The Lost Pages’ appeared in 2007 but due to a cruel twist of Fate it would be their only album as the band disbanded the following year after touring the album to “got their separate ways”. Joe went back to his label while Alexis threw herself in various musical projects.
The album opens how it means to go on with ‘Shades To Be’. It’s haunting and frantic as drums pound like running feet, guitar occasionally squeals a cry of help and Alexis Mary’s deep Siouxsie Sioux esque vocals wail and croon. 2006 single ‘Descend’ is just as crazed and chaotic. Comparisons flow easily, early Cure, Siouxsie and The Banshees and Sonic Youth, but do not be fooled as The Violets do have their own unique way. Their last single ‘Troubles of Keneat’ opens with dissonant electronic squeal, scratches and threatening bass as Alexis passionately cries out into the shadows, buzzes and crashes will occasionally descend. It’s unpredictable, like a thunderstorm. The album then seems to calm down, in a weird still jumping wildly screaming in black leather and eyeliner way, but the songs have clearer melodies and are a tad more accessible.
‘The Lost Pages’ is dripping with that 1977 London atmosphere, DIY and basement gig, that would continue to inspire generations of lost youth for years to come. ‘Co-Plax’ is cheeky and fun, filled with fuzz, an almost industrial drumbeat and this lovely little guitar hook to end. Their most famous single ‘Foreo’, inspired by the Alfred Hitchcock film ‘Marnie’, which included a horse named Foreo, contains all the bands best tricks; smooth time changes, feedback, harshly crooned vocals and riffs that rush by as if it’s being endlessly chased by an unknown creature. ‘Half Light’ proves to be a refreshing change, it’s a much softer melodic track with almost jangling guitar and the guise of innocence, until midway it goes back to form as deep bass takes control and guitar becomes more frightened; it’s a seamless shift. ‘Parting Glances’ is practically poppy, with its bouncing electronic opening and harmonica but don’t panic the track as cheerful as a black and white war photo and ends with ominous chants and feedback. Closing track ‘Nature Of Obsession’ is a sweet empty acoustic track, a lovely calm way to end such a frantic, frightened and chaotic album.