Let’s get right to the point: WACO is grungy, stripped-down and raw as hell. The same goes for Violent Soho’s catalog: We Don’t Belong Here, Violent Soho and especially so for the band’s junior album Hungry Ghost. Catchy choruses, upbeat yet sludgy breaks and their Australian twang brings their records full circle. What sets WACO apart is the band steering away from their Nirvana-meets-Smashing-Pumpkins phase and into the punk lane with pop highlights in the passenger seat.
WACO jumps off with two worn tracks, “How To Taste” and “Blanket,” which could be picked out of the band’s catalog without questioning which record it was from. The third song, “Viceroy,” sets the tone for the rest of the album. Full of poppy bridges and a thrashy chorus coupled with screaming vocals, it throws listeners off in the best way. The track, “So Sentimental,” has cooing gang vocals which you could find on some thrift store indie bin find, but it works so well for Violent Soho. It’s catchy, it’s upbeat and reminiscent of something Saves The Day or the Front Bottoms would put out, but with more long-haired metalheads whipping their hair.
“Like Soda” and “No Shade” have the iconic one-string build up into a booming chorus with pop-punk chords galore. “Slow Wave” has a steady beat throughout the song, but is almost an emo punk rendition of “All The Small Things” by Blink-182 (mostly because there isn’t a way you can have the words “always, I know” in a chorus without thinking “you’ll be at my show”). “Evergreen” is fast and abrasive, similar to Hungry Ghost. The record’s title track is the perfect send-off along with “Low,” both intimate and full of melody.
WACO proves its point in terms of where the band was, is and where they’re headed. This record is a definite must-listen for fans of any ’90s grunge revivalists like Citizen, Superheaven, Basement and Balance And Composure in addition to groups like Diarrhea Planet, Microwave and Joyce Manor. For a band who recently put out a video about terrorizing an old folks home, the new dads of Violent Soho seem like they’re growing up (somewhat) and into a more seasoned sound. With more risk taking on WACO, it’ll be interesting to see where Violent Soho goes next.