In case you haven't figured it out yet, Violet
Indiana is a sort of supergroup featuring the breathy vocals
of former Mono singer Siobhan DeMare and the guitarwork of Robin
Guthrie, known for being the mastermind behind Cocteau
Twins. For their second full-length CD, Violet Indiana collected
several songs from their EP releases of the previous year, and
then threw in a few additional tunes just to make it a worthwhile
purchase for their fans.
All of their previous releases have been reviewed here before,
so if you want you can read about the four tracks that make
up the Special EP (all of which are duplicated
here) in that review.
The songs Purr La Perla, Silent, and Torn Up
are from the Choke
EP, while Storm and Safe Word were originally
on the Killer
Eyes single. I have talked about each song before,
so in order to prevent duplication i will just wait here a bit
while you go and read up on those previously released tunes.
Back so soon? Okay, well, in addition to those nine tracks, there are three brand new tracks exclusive to this release. Let me examine each of them.
Bang Bang is the first of the new tracks, and it features Guthrie playing
with a subtle echoing tremolo. DeMare sings through a bit of
distortion, and her voice is more forceful here than usual.
Combine this with the plentiful drumming, and the song almost
comes across like one of Garbage's
slower numbers. That might be a good thing, or a bad thing,
depending on how you feel about Mr. Vig's band.
Ne Me Quitte Pas is actually a cover, the original being
by Jacques Brel. I have no idea who this person is, but given
the title and the author's name i would have expected the tune
to be sung in French. [Editor's
Note: Brel was a French singer/songwriter whose best known English
tune was translated into the sappy ballad Seasons in the
Sun.] Only about half the tune is sung in French,
and i do not know if that is because M. Brel composed it that
way, or if DeMare translated part of the song. Either way, it
really works. The chorus features DeMare singing in a very sultry
manner (and the French language is a real boon here) while Guthrie
plays that light echoing guitar he is so fond of these days.
They are backed up to great effect by light brushed drumming.
The whole thing swells up during the choruses, with every element
becoming fuller and more powerful. This is a really nice song,
considering that the English half of the lyrics place it in
the "cheesey love tune" category. I tend to not like such songs
so much, but DeMare and Guthrie are able to pull it off here.
The final new track is called Heaven. This features a bit more instrumentation than some of the rest of the songs on this compilation. In addition to Guthrie's light guitarwork, there is a nice piano bit, and more of that brushed drumming. DeMare sings slowly, and, in fact, the whole song meanders along somewhat slowly. It really works, and i like the music in this one a lot. The piano adds a nice accompaniment to Guthrie's sparse guitar.
Of the three songs exclusive to this release, two of them are really nice,
and one is okay. But let's not forget the 9 songs from other
releases, including all of the
wonderful Special EP, and many of the stronger
tracks from two other releases.
Plus, act now and the CD will also include a .mov (QuickTime
format video) for the song Killer Eyes, the same video
that is on the CD single
for that song.
Overall, that's a lot of stuff! And considering the generally high quality of Violet Indiana's work, this CD is a great choice as an introduction to this band.