Electric President

The Violent Blue

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AllMusic Review by

The idea of "drowning in sound" was one that informed Ben Cooper and Alex Kane's musical thinking during the creation of this, their third album as Electric President. Combine that factoid with the fact that "Violent Blue" is how Cooper refers to the ocean and you'll have a pretty good idea of what kind of sound to expect: vast, dark, moist, and often oddly comforting. Consider the album's opening track, titled (suggestively enough) "The Ocean Floor." The song sways in waltz time, like a large sea fan moving with the current. Skeletal, cheap-sounding drums built a rickety structure for an even cheaper-sounding acoustic guitar and a variety of lo-fi electronic sweeteners, and while the description may not sound very enticing, the sonic results are powerfully attractive. "Mr. Gone" features some deeply weird percussion sounds that are clearly acoustic in origin yet sound like alien insects slowly eating a drum set; the singing is quiet, the electronics are softly atmospheric, and yet again the result is quite a bit better than the sum of its parts. The album's title track is its biggest, densest, and most atmospheric; despite its sonic weight the overall effect is gentle and softly cathartic, thanks in part to a combination of self-deprecating vocals and unassumingly soaring melodies. The vocals tend to be buried in the mix, which is just as well with cliché-ridden couplets like "I was made to throw stones and darken doorways/To burn bridges, then fall and sleep it off" floating around. But hackneyed lyrics are easy to forgive when they're couched in music that's this raggedly and sweetly seductive.

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