Review: Violent Soho – WACO
I Oh You
From the roaring “yeeeeeahhh!!” that sets the record off like a fuse to the spine-tingling hum that fizzles it out, WACO is a sonic rollercoaster – a scuzzy, unrestrained, all-over bloodthirsty rollercoaster powered by pot smoke and with seatbelts sewn using frayed guitar strings. The past three years have seen Mansfield’s Violent Soho soar from pub-hopping support act status to theatre-packing luminaries, but rest assured the boys are still as humble, ardent, and of course, stoned as they’ve ever been.
In a way, WACO plays out as the sequel to 2013’s Hungry Ghost – the foursome once again recruited Bryce Moorhead behind the producer’s desk, and before they were kicked out due to a lack of funds (sativa is as much a priority as it is expensive), even made their way back to Brisbane’s The Shed studios. But though there’s little to be found in the way of innovation, WACO plays more like a Godfather Part II than it does another Kick-Ass. Violent Soho build upon their gritty, grunge-punched alternative sound in every aspect and then some, amping up the riffs on festival flamers like “Evergreen” and “How To Taste”, while bringing a marshmallow pliability to groovier moments such as “So Sentimental” and the title track.
The album as a whole is an equal spread of buttery hooks and gravelly fretwork, Luke Boerdam (lead) and James Tidswell (rhythm) with the early-’00s grunge riffs on lockdown. The seminal Fooeys and Sonic Youth vibes are well in tow, and although it harkens back to a time when abrasive angst was hotly-sought on mainstream airwaves, WACO feels dated for not one of its 45 minutes. Boerdam’s vocals are correspondingly noxious, a rusty wail on “Blanket” and a beaten howl on “No Shade”. As a unit, the band are noisy, fuzzy and slicked in grime – it’s obvious the LP was recorded in a shed, but in its frailty comes an illustrious symmetry.
Lead singles “Viceroy” and “Like Soda” are easy highlights, but “Evergreen”, “So Sentimental” and “Holy Cave” are sure to cement themselves as cult classic live show cornerstones. It’s been a long time coming, but Violent Soho are finally riding the wave they belong on. Not only are they doing so with their best record to date, but they’re doing it with one of the best grunge LPs to drop in the last decade altogether. Our final verdict? A solid “HELL FUCK YEAH!”