The Violents

Rebecca's Morning Voice

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In the post-cuddlecore world of D.I.Y. punk-pop, it seems almost beside the point to consider technical virtuosity as an important aspect of a band. There are bands that actually got less interesting as they learned to play their instruments better (the Raincoats and Beat Happening come to mind), and bands to whom lack of polish and instrumental cohesion are entirely beside the point (think of the earliest Slits recordings). Yet, it must be said that sometimes a lack of musicianly skills actually can be a detriment, and the Violents' debut album is an excellent case in point. Guitarist Aimee Rickman and bassist Anni Poppen (both sing and write, separately) are gifted singer/songwriters who invest their songs with passion, angst, and humor. The best songs here, like Rickman's slow-burning "Casualties" (which has all the intensity of a prime early Joy Division track) and Poppen's rueful and atypically delicate "Whore," are truly impressive. The problem is drummer Sally Mundy, whose instrumental deficiencies are made glaringly obvious by Rickman and Poppen's comparative mastery of their instruments. In a band where all three of the members were at roughly the same level of inexperience, Mundy's dropped beats and wavering tempi wouldn't matter, but on the otherwise more-than-competent Rebecca's Morning Voice, she just sounds like a bad drummer. The Violents have the potential to do something really special, but this, unfortunately, isn't it.

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