Violent Soho want us to know that after having wrestled with a decade and a half worth of demons across their four previous albums full of wry suspicion, ageing angst, flippant cheek, existential despair, plaintive hope, pie-eyed wonder and worry, finally now in 2020 Everything Is A-OK.
In the past, their sound has been compared to greats such as the Pixies, Mudhoney and Nirvana. They have themselves seen much success for their albums past. In September 2014, their third studio album Hungry Ghost was certified Gold in their home of Australia.
More recently their last album WACO debuted at number 1 on the Australian iTunes and ARIA charts in 2016 and was met with much acclaim from music fans and critics alike. However, the massive success of WACO that led to festival headline slots and sold out tours came at the worst time and during some personal upheaval for drummer Michael Richards, bassist Luke Henery and guitarist James Tidswell. So now years later and somewhat recovered they have returned with their latest record Everything Is A-OK which they tell us is a declaration that THIS is who Violent Soho are as a band. As musicians. As mates.
But does the album live up to the hype? And can they recreate past successes? What’s nice about this album is they’re almost not trying to, it is as if they are out here making music for music sake, to be shared and enjoyed, rather then just sold. It flows nicely from one song to the next and has a very chilled vibe that means you can both listen intently as your main focus or leave it on in the background whilst you do other things, and it holds up either way.
If you are listening intently then you’ll pick up on the lyrical content that takes a long hard look at today’s society and their obsession with a social media lifestyle. On ‘Lying On The Floor’ we are told by vocalist Luke Boredam that “I don’t wanna be a photograph / They’re like handing out brochures that a rapture is close”. Lyrics that are brutally honest and cut straight to the core are everything in this record and run throughout. When talking about the record Boredam said: “It’s honest. It doesn’t claim to be anything it’s not: it’s apolitical, slacker, cynical, and trying to connect with people over a shared experience in pointing out society’s failures and the personal shit that follows.”
Highlights from the record include the lead single ‘Vacation Forever’, which sets the tone for the album one that the band call “a headlong cannonball-ride into the darkness of suburban abandonment and decay”. Its intro builds up the suspense and the repeated “oh yeah” is reminiscent of the ’90s rock that some of us are old enough to remember and love. The band themselves say it contains some of Boerdam’s finest lines and they’re not wrong, for example, “There’s a baby boomer across the street / And it won’t stop staring at me”.
Other standout songs include ‘Pick It Up Again’ and ‘Canada’. You can easily listen to this album again and again and continue to find something new inside it at every listen, from the moment the drums come in on first track ‘Sleep Year’ to the moment Boredam says his last words on last track ‘A-OK’. Overall this is a solid album and it ends perfectly letting you know exactly where the band are at right now. Everything is indeed A-OK.