Violet Silhouette’s Latest EP Feverblue Is A Rollercoaster Of Emotions And Dance-Punk
On their latest EP, the post-wave pioneers explore the unconscious depths of what they call “Neuroromanticism”.
In an increasingly changing musical world, the numerous subgenres that post-punk spawned since the 80s merge into one. Here, to stand out takes the weight of something else, as the sense of concept, the spark of a novel idea, or the lure of unusual production makes shifts within the genre. Ways to reinvent and compare these subgenres are a way forward, but out of many recent post-punk groups paying homage to the era, Violet Silhouette has pulled out all the stops with their newest EP Feverblue.
On first listen, there’s an instinctive freshness about the first track, “Strange Wind”, but what makes it so alluring is the way the group doesn’t force any particular emotion on you. Instead, Feverblue is spearheaded by Violet Silhouette’s concept of Neuroromanticism which they describe as a strange collection of sensory experiences and our sometimes fatal chase to reach the highest ideal for truth and love. The idea reflects a search for meaning, yet this is very clearly provided in the tracks. They sum up eclecticism, chaos, and passion which allows them to resonate with different listeners in different ways whilst leaving the specifics open to interpretation.
Ultimately the group, comprised of Zaii Valdes on vocals, guitars, drum programming, and synths, Dan Potvin on synths, sequencing, vocals, and guitar, and Justin Gianoutsos on bass, have between them an instinctive knack for the subconscious, the archetypal, and the psychological concept of chaos. To convey this mental turbulence through organised sound is no easy feat. The EP is a sonic collage that lends itself to many atmospheres but ultimately succeeds because of the group’s holistic look, weaving the many threads of sound into one.
With their single and first track “Sonic Wind”, the spangled and gauzy synths that herald the vocals come over a contrastingly crisp and pragmatic beat. It’s segways like this, both within and between songs, that makes it the audible equivalent of a photo collage, or a scrapbook that instantly evokes memories with each new visit. Other standout tracks include the rhythmic programming of “Pinkish Mountains”, the indie cool of “Under the Table”, and the pure emotion of “Urchin” that closes the album.
Sonically, it’s also the production and arrangement that makes it feel very fresh and new. The synths never blur into one. Continuously, there are not only distinct layers within the tracks, but the trio also has the ability to vary their beats and basslines so that each track has a unique thumbprint. As a result, it feels like it has a greater variety of different parts than the short list of six tracks that make it up may suggest. None of the contrasts within it jar with each other, they all work smoothly, yet hit the spot coming as a pleasant surprise once you are hooked on the rich melodies.
Vocalists Valdes and Potvin have a great part to play in this. Feverblue succeeds in making them into narrators who each inject their unique contribution. The conversational interchange they have become known for onstage is no joke. In the video for “Strange Wind”, this carries over into the EP, with dramatic cuts as if they are talking amongst each other yet the message is fragmented. From start to finish, the lines of conversation weave in and out with synths, bass, and guitar. As a result, it is a journey through introspection that is nevertheless shared both throughout the group and intimately with the listener.
Playing a trio of gig dates over late October and the first half of November in Florida and California, Violet Silhouette has also been praised for the extra symbolic elements of their live performances where they create an onstage symmetry that brings to life their silhouette concept: the idea that what they produce is the reflection of this Neuroromanticism. Perhaps the ideas, emotions, and interchange between them during the writing process, and the events in life and love that have inspired it.
Some EPs have atmosphere, some have a story. Feverblue has both. Violet Silhouette claims they “may or not sound how dusk feels, but with more reverb”, which is in fact an apt, metaphorical, and poignant descriptor. Yet if 2021’s more noise rock-inspired Semipermanentderealization heralded the dusk, Feverblue is the post-sunset sky in its full indigo glory. It’s less influenced by noise rock, and the vocals are softer, with emotion that is left for the listener to interpret. Feverblue is a new direction that explores the band’s softer side whilst still paying homage to the big noise rock sounds that were one of their first inspirations.
Violet Silhouette’s Feverblue is out now on Bandcamp and all main streaming services.
Violet Silhouette (US)
Featured Image by Violet Silhouette