Hazy synth-pop trios may be a dime a dozen, but there’s something really special when an album like Violens’ True finds its way into the world. From the very first note of the Brooklyn-based band’s sophomore LP, it’s clear that the album isn’t messing around. Through carefree crescendos and poignant harmonies, the album stays true to its roots, but in a more constructed manner, most notably in the opener “Totally True” and the distorted “Every Melting Degree.”
Drawing comparisons to Phoenix and a heavier Antlers would be easy, but there is a certain dynamic that pushes Violens towards a more garage-based sound than the new wave, dreampop bands that have piled up high in 2012. The band isn’t afraid to step back from what has worked for it in the past. “Lavender Forces” is a dark, cinematic score that would fit in a Christopher Nolan film and would make Hans Zimmer proud. It won’t find its way onto any radio station or mixtape, but it shows how much space the band is able to cover.
The album doesn’t let up on the latter half of the tracklisting with the pedal to the floor “All Night Low” and the prog-inspired “Watch the Streams.” Songs like “Der Microarc” and the sinister “Lucent Caries” that have subtle nods to horrific undertones are also wrinkles that make True that much more special. Violens is able to float between atmospheric and in-your-face, giving the album a swirling feeling instead of putting power hits up front and letting the album slide into the background as the songs pass.