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  Killer Eyes  
  Violet Indiana  
  Bella Union  
Release Date:
Reviewed by:

Last year Violet Indiana released their debut full-length album, Roulette. This is a single designed to accompany that album. It contains Killer Eyes off of the album, two additional tracks, and a quicktime video of Killer Eyes.

Killer Eyes is a pretty good song. It's catchy, and it focuses on the two strengths of Violet Indiana quite nicely. (Those strengths being Robin Guthrie's guitarwork and Siobhan DeMare's voice.) It is a fine choice for a single.

And yet.... What's the point? I mean, in this day and age, what is the point in releasing a single off of an album? Most people who might hear the song on the radio go buy the album. Do radio stations only play things that are classified as "singles"? I mean real radio stations, ones that make money, unlike the NPR and college radio stations that i listen to.

In a way, it seems as if the whole point of "CD singles" is to provide something else for the diehard collector to have to search for. Another thing for us poor slobs who are compelled to spend our hard earned cash on everything so much as touched by our musical heroes to search for!

It seems almost ... exploitative.

I dunno. Maybe i'm overreacting a bit. The single is priced lower than an album or an EP, so it is sort of a bargain. Then again, i paid import price for this, since it wasn't released in the US... And since British money is better than American, it wasn't a bargain for me.

I am annoyed at the necessity of having to go out of my way to purchase an additional release for completeness sake. On the other hand, Robin Guthrie has always done quality work, even on b-sides. And i am the type of music geek who wants to own everything....

Well, enough ranting. I am moderately annoyed at this formatting, but moreso at the difficulty in obtaining it. Why isn't this stuff released in the US? It's good stuff!

So the single starts off with Killer Eyes, which, as i said above, is a darned fine tune.

Track two is called Storm and it is mellow jazz tune. I often think that Violet Indiana are a sultry vocal jazz ensemble (think Etta James in the 50's for an idea of i am thinking of here), but this is their jazziest tune by far. It features some lovely upright bass (Yum -- upright bass!) thumping away behind Guthrie's layered guitar. One guitar layer is really mellow and wanders around in the background, while over top of that he plays louder and with the massive amounts of tremolo that have become the Violet Indiana signature. But on top of all of that is DeMare's voice. It is the real focus of the song, and she turns in another great performance. This is a really nice tune.

Safe Word has keyboards, funky bass riffs, and drumming. It is not so jazzy, and while it is catchy it is not particularly noteworthy after the two songs that proceed it. It is a decent song though.

The video for Killer Eyes is a nice added bonus. Violet Inidiana are all about including video on their CD's (there is one on Special as well as one on an early Bella Union Records sampler disc), which i think is a neat added bonus. I approve of the whole "multimedia experience", and not just because that is the industry i work in. Since a CD can hold any kind of data, why bother to release a CD with just 3 songs? That would leave almost 500 MB of space wasted. Instead, throw on a video. Add some spiffy Flash animation. Fill the remainder of your CD with your manifesto! (I am actually surprised that more of those Marxist punk acts that Malimus is into don't package long ranting text files on their CD's....)

So, even though i don't like sitting in front of my computer watching a video, i approve of the concept.

Plus, it's neat to get to watch music videos. I grew up watching MTV, and i like the art form. Nowadays when i flip past MTV on the idiot box they invariably have one of their cheesey real life soap operas on. Do they even play videos anymore? Even if they did, these kinds of CD releases would probably still be my only chance to see Violet Indiana's videos anyway.

I am an audio person. I don't know much about video. I don't know film theory, nor do i care to. So i feel kind of awkward critiqing this video. But here goes....

It's okay.

There. This CD has two really good songs, one decent one, and a video. If you are rabid Guthrie fan (like me) or a big DeMare fan, this is totally worth getting. If you like female voiced jazzy pop, this is something you might want to track down.

The cost of an import single is probably restrictive though.

Related Links:

The Choke EP, first release by Violet Indiana.
Violet Indiana's full-length LP, Roulette.
The Special EP, which also features a video.


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