Violent Soho Oh You/Illusive
EXACTLY 55 days after little-known suburban Brisbane garage-grunge quartet Violent Soho released its debut album in 2008, the band got a call from Thurston Moore. Yes, that Thurston Moore, guitar god and founding member of genredefining Sonic Youth. Needless to say, the boys from Mansfield found themselves in the US quicksmart and by 2010 had released a revamped and extended version of their debut on Moore’s Ecstatic Peace label (with help from British superproducer Gil Norton, who has mixed the Pixies and Patti Smith). Cue hype and hysteria. Three years later, the band is back in Brisbane, recording third album Hungry Ghost in the unimaginatively named The Shed Studios with a local producer they trust, Bryce Moorhead. It was a much slower process, and the change of scene and pace has paid off. Lyrically, the new album is more mature (attacking mindless consumerism and the suburban malaise rather than messy breakups). Sound-wise, Violent Soho has retained the crunching guitar riffs and raw-throated vocals of its 1990s influences (headbanging opener Dope Calypso is a case in point), but Hungry Ghost also reveals the band’s softer side. Fur Eyes is a sweetly sung, guitar-twangpunctuated ditty, while the dreamy and layered OK
Cathedral was recorded to sound as if captured in a church. Hungry Ghost is a slow-burner, rewarding the listener for persistence. Tracks that immediately conjure a messy wall of noise become nuanced and meaningful with time. For a band once pegged as a next big thing, it’s refreshing instead to listen to it do its own thing — and revel in it.