Hun­gry Ghost

Vi­o­lent Soho Oh You/Il­lu­sive

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Music Reviews - Sarah Elks

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.

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