CD Review – The Blue Violets – Self-titled
by Jade Sperry
The Blue Violets hail from Vancouver BC and write songs that are melodic in minor keys, and overall, have very good harmonies on every song. This is due in part to the sisterhood of Coral (lead vocals and synths) and Kandel Osbourne (lead guitar and backing vocals) , whose father is none other than Neil Osbourne of 54-40. Joining the duo are Louise Burns (bass and backing vocals), Murray McKenzie (guitar) and Jeff Mitchelmore (drums). On the bands’ MySpace page (see below for link) , there is a very detailed introduction to the band and how they came to be. It’s a very interesting story of a young band who are dedicated to making their own music, being creative in the approach to songwriting and succeeding in the way they see fit. Their first effort is self-titled and was released in December 2009.
Their self-titled CD is a undiscovered gem in the Vancouver scene. The first song “You Said” is dreamy in a dark way but is a well written song and is played well by all. The vocals that Coral belt out remind this writer of Concrete Blonde singer/songwriter Johnette Napolitano whose career has been rich and varied. The bass and drums give this song a solid backbone to groove on and the guitars add a haunting, soulful moan through the entire song. “Desire” is another solid song that talks about a heart that is dead. The music is pure and filled with soulful feelings of being pulled under into a situation that might be good or can go bad. “Sam” is a song that starts out mournful but the chorus sounds almost hopeful, musically speaking. The lyrics speak of struggling with life and trying to be hopeful in the face of despair. “Lay It Down” is more upbeat musically but has dark undercurrents of lyrical misfortunes. This song is very catchy musically with a good bass work by Louise. This song speaks of doing the right thing and how that can impact your life in later years. “Albino” has stellar guitar work by Kandel and also good vocal work by both Coral and Kandel. Kandel’s backing vocals give Coral’s vocals a haunting quality throughout the song. This song is musically powerful by all members playing together very well. “Anorexic” is a song that lyrically is about a sensitive subject especially for young girls but this song is very honest and true in speaking of someone who has anorexia. A powerful song in all respects it’s a song that is this writer’s favorite on the CD. “Sad On Me” is a song that has great vocal work and a really funky bass line. This song could easily be a hit song. Emotionally charged, well mixed and lyrics that speak of not being sad but of being more positive which anyone can relate to. “Busker” is a great song musically with outstanding vocal work by Coral, Kandel and Louise. A really catchy melody with everyone on the same page, it lyrically speaks of being so into someone else that you lose touch with your own reality and end up drowning inside of the other person. “Fire” is upbeat and funky in a laid back way musically. With lyrics like “touch me til I bleed” and “searching your eyes to see just went wrong”, you get the feeling that this is about life taking wrong turns and ending up on the wrong path. It also speaks of getting up off your duff and getting back on the right path. I like the duality of this song. “Diet” starts out with a dual combination of lushness and a forlorn quality in the vocal work Coral lays down. Anyone who has dieted can relate to the lyrics of this song. “Gonna Getcha” does have a surf rock feel to it by the guitar work by Kandel. It’s a song that’s uneven but this uneven quality works well for this song. I particularly like the chorus and how everyone contributes musically and vocally. “The Trance” is the longest song on the CD. At over 6 minutes long, it’s twice as long as all other songs on the CD. Starting out with just vocals and guitars, it begins to build with synth sounds and drums with a dynamite bass line. Musically it has kind of a creepy vibe but lyrically it’s the beginning of a really well written song. Coral harmonizes well with the synths she is playing and the song as a whole is outstanding.
Overall, this is a band that is ripe with talent. While there are a few songs that are mediocre, the majority of these songs are presented and played well by all members of the band. The mixing and mastering are done very well on this CD and that gives it an 8.5 out of 10 in this writer’s books.
You can find the band and all related info at the following sites:
The Blue Violets web page: http://theblueviolets.com/