Maybe I would have gone into much more depth about this new LP, "City Streets" from Liverpool's finest Violent Reaction, but it seems I'm just about the last guy blogging about this fantastic album. Only one thing to blame for that and it's the fact that Painkiller Records took four weeks to actually get around to shipping out my order after the original payment date, and then there was the three weeks in international transit. Black vinyl of the wider press here. Though I was really hoping for the limited red variation. Bummer. Incidentally, Quality Control Records has just handled the Euro press of this album, and I managed to score the limited variation of that edition. Will blog when it arrives.
Regular readers would assumedly be very aware of my penchant for this great band. A totally ripping demo from late 2011 followed by an even stompier s/t 7" from last year had me blabbing on about the group for months and months (so excited I got, with Tom's approval I even had a batch of VxR shirts printed up, of which stock still remains, hit me up if you want one cheap). This new material from Tom and co. takes on a noticeably more Oi! feel while also incorporating some very stark Boston hardcore traits previously unexplored on the demo or 7". These traits manifest themselves most obviously in the ultra fast 1-2-1-2 beats knotted into a handful of the songs, something the band hadn't tried out before this. Meanwhile the more rounded feel to the remainder of the music gives it a much more English sound. The recording claims a great deal of responsibility for this too, incorporating less of a typical American feel. Not quite as loud, not quite as razor sharp. The general imagery of the sleeve helps also in conveying the vibe the band are obviously interested in putting out there.
Highlights of the record would be "Own Worst Enemy" with it's bullshitless attitude. It lasts barely 45 seconds and doesn't once sways from the same three chords. "Use & Abuse" would be another one that employs a massively simple three chord approach for the bulk of it's length. Throw in a cool little solo near the end and you've got a banger. Brendan Radigan's guest vocal contribution to the track "Left For Dead" goes a long way to make that song interesting. His bit comes in at the end of the song when the mosh part happens and his rasp suits the 25 seconds of stomp very well. "VxR Stomp", "Judgement Day" (featuring guesties by DFJ recorded in a car) and "Vultures" are another three great songs.
Seems that a lot of people (pretty much anyone with an ounce of good taste) are wise to how good this band is now. Can't be blamed really, these guys certainly put to shame just about any other bands at the moment playing this style of hardcore. Has this been said? 'Album of the year?' My answer would most likely be 'yes'.