Viola Beach - Viola Beach - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Viola Beach - Viola Beach

by Warwick Stubbs Rating:7 Release Date:2016-07-30

I guess all you smarmy English Punks are gonna lap this shit up. I won’t hold it against you. Everything I hated about Babyshambles comes off with some good taste with these guys.

I can imagine this music working up quite a riot in your average English bar – it feels tailor made to the working class standing at their bar stools swigging beers on a Friday night as they sing along to mindless lyrics about boys chasing girls and stupid shit like that.

The album starts off almost like uptempo feel good Coldplay, the kind of Colplay you wish existed with a chorus of “I need you”s reminiscent of Chris Martin’s pleas, but without the indulgent sentimentality. While the second song continues the momentum it ends as a bit of a non-event.

Often clean-guitar riffs can end up sounding too similar due to many of the rhythms being the same, but there are moments like in ‘Cherry Vimto’ where the dynamics switch everything up and provide the necessary contrasts, but that’s not always enough to sustain the desire for repeated listening.

‘Really Wanna Call’ has all the infectious guitar and vocals that you could want from an indie band with their eyes on scouring the sidelines of mainstream pop music, while ‘Call You Up’ shows the band’s slower grooves recalling moments from The Verve but never quite hitting those heights.

Final song ‘Boys that Sing’ chronicles the desires to impress a girl who likes boys who can sing “so I learnt how to sing”. These kind of simplistic lyrics are all over the album, but they’re never embarrassing or cringe worthy, just cute and fun.

The songs seem to drag a little towards the end of the album, but its hardly detrimental.

Production is simple, almost sounding like well mixed demos, but there’s a real laid back charm to the singing and playing that catches the listener up in the momentum and joy.

It certainly would have been something to hear a follow up with improved production and a new set of songs that showed a bit more breadth in song-writing while maintaining the happy tempos that many punters would be willing to get up and dance to after chucking down a few beers. As it stands, Viola Beach’s debut is an album that will stand as a testament to a group whose potential was cut short long before their time.


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