Violent Delight – Transmission – 3.5/5
So for the 100th review I wanted to do something a bit unusual, to have as a landmark, though I was a bit late, so this is now the 101st review. Damnit. At any rate, what makes this album special? It’s an album by a band that I’ve known for a number of years, and used to frequently see play at my local youth club as a young teenager. Despite knowing them very well, this review presents me with a challenge, as any band that has as many memories for them as this does for me requires one to be careful of bias.
This is a punk-rock band, hailing from my hometown (if you hadn’t already gathered) that whilst at first seem to offer nothing particularly original in the main body of their sound, they do it fairly well, and offer something I’ve yet to really find in another band. The guitar work is competent, if not breaking any moulds, consisting largely of simplistic riffs and chords, what it lacks in technicality it makes up for in its ability to get stuck in your head, and varying frequently enough to separate it from their peers. Add a sprinkling of solo’s here and there, and you have the makings of an above average track.
The production is sufficient to hear both the bass and drums clearly, which is not only a nice addition, but fairly surprising given that they were working under Warner Bros at the time, but despite this the vocals are where this band really shines. With that same unique twist that made the sex pistols so memorable, his unconventional singing style creates something fairly unique, with enough variety going from the cleaner melodies, rap/rock vocals and full blown hardcore growls, it keeps each track individual, whilst allowing for the lyrics to make themselves known. And with a band with as much to say as this, this is key.
Ive always stated I rarely notice lyrics, unless they force me to listen. This is a band that I couldn’t help but be intrigued as to what they had to say. Comprised with roughly half light-hearted, joke-filled songs, and more serious emotional songs, both succeed in being incredibly honest, even if they weren’t incredibly subtle. Often bands get bogged down in using imagery in their lyrics, this isn’t an example of that. Many of their more light-hearted songs emerged in their early years, and due to the topics presented, I wish they had stuck this way. Whilst I’m not against emotional love songs – especially when presented in punk more reminiscent of the origins of emo – the topic has been overdone. The songs about cheating girlfriends, trans-sexuals, watching your parents have sex and rapping wizards, this displays the bands original idea’s at their best.
This is a band that never took themselves too seriously. They set out to have fun, rather than tackle serious issues, and they succeeded. If your after great musicianship, look elsewhere, as whilst it doesn’t hamper the songs it certainly doesn’t differentiate them far from the better artists in the genre. If you’re after something to sit back with a beer to chuckle along to, perhaps this is worth a try.
Highlights: I Wish I was a Girl, Parental Guidance, Jump
• In the early years, they would be regularly spotted in a pub called ‘the fighting cocks,’ which happens to be the oldest pub in the UK. (They also overcharge on every drink served, but that’s besides the point).
• This album was the result of winning first prize in a ‘battle of the bands’ competition, of which there were 5 bands in the final. Two indie-emo bands, A ska band and a prog/metalcore band featuring the ex-guitarist from sikth (who left before they got signed).
• All the artwork was drawn by a band member. (I forget which).
• From my admittedly brief encounters with them, they were never stingy in offering cigarettes.
• Possibly one of the main bands responsible for the youth club employing bouncers to search the young teenagers as they came in for alcohol.
• The sex sounds heard in ‘Secret Smile’ came from the lead vocalist’s girlfriend at the time, who is heard again in the bonus track. I heard she was unaware of herself being recorded until the album was released, but cannot confirm this.
By T. Bawden