Not dissimilar to the response a crowd has at a live Violent Soho show, the fourth studio album from the quartet is a pretty tactile experience.
The album title itself warrants enough of a visceral reaction, named after the Texas town that witnessed the 1993 siege of a Branch Davidian sect, and ending in a shootout with police and military. Selected after a fan suggestion, frontman Luke Boerdam described WACO to triple j as being the older sister of their last album, Hungry Ghost, “Hungry Ghost dealt with the spiritual skeleton we’ve become from this spoon-fed reality. WACO is more about control and illusion: what the skeleton is being fed.”
A continuation of the soulful disillusionment that Violent Soho has systemically aligned with, the irate and sarcastic lyrics paired with the gruff and chaotic texture of the music offer more of an offensive than pensive look into their preoccupations.
Arranged around anthemic grunge rock tracks, each instrument can be heard surprisingly clearly in solidarity, made distinct by the layered rather than mashed-up arrangement – further enriching the sense of confusion and broken-ness that the band evokes.
‘How To Taste’, the first track on the album, is vocally very punk pop and easy rock, reminiscent of Blink 182 or Sum 41’s more popular tracks. Comparatively, ‘Viceroy’ and ‘Like Soda’ are more garage band grunge, with faster and harder percussion – mosh approved.
The album stays on this ledge between Simple Plan sarcasm and Nirvana in earnest homage – perhaps purposely poking fun or undermining the institution of popularised music, the hollowness of the vocals contrast against intermittent cymbals in excess.
As a question of meaning and reason, this album has more to say than the repetitive and sometimes-elusive lyrics appear to offer on face value. And if you don’t like to reflect so deeply, the band has still offered some great mosh tunes and sing-alongs.
Reviewer: Marley Tinnock