Violent Soho‘s self-titled album basically ruled my life in 2010. While the “don’t-call-us-grunge” grunge band admittedly have recently been about as quiet as a climate change supporter in the Republican party and their “comeback” single ‘Tinderbox’ didn’t do much for me, newest track ‘Neighbour Neighbour’ more or less punched me right in the face and reminded me why I spent around 12% of my 20th year on Earth listening to this band on a near-endless iTunes loop.
Whereas the tense opening and chorus of ‘Tinderbox’ had me worried that the Brisbane lads had gone on a Children Collide post-punk kick, and the throbbing insistence and chiming guitar of its verses more or less reeked of Smashing Pumpkins generational anthem ‘Today,’ ‘Neighbour Neighbour’ is the Soho lads getting back to what they do best – that is, tacking a Pixies-lite verse onto a blistering Nirvana-channeling chorus. And it rules.
The inherent simplicity and straightforwardness of grunge means that a bunch of tracks end up sounding like a bunch of other tracks; there’s only so much you can do with the soft verse/loud chorus dynamic, drawled vocals and a shit-tonne of flannel and ripped jeans. But Violent Soho just seem better at it than most (ask their long list of backers who include Thurston Moore, The Bronx, Dinosaur Jr and IOHYOU, their brand new label). If you’re anything like me, you’ll be listening to this track and be continually pausing it to ponder “God damn that bit sounds familiar, where have I heard that before?” Not to write off the VS as ripoff merchants; far from it (and really, if you’ve got to pick some rock luminaries to draw influence from, Pixies and the Nirv are about as good as you can get for style points). But the simplicity of the track – from the warm serene opening that could be Ballpark Music in another life to the chugging bass that drops in midway through the first verse to the crunching powerchord explosion that is the track’s raison d’etre – is exactly its appeal. Tied to its accompanying video, filled with the late afternoon sunlight, skating, bongs, beers and babes of a backyard BBQ (“bongs beers babes backyard BBQ,” try saying that five times fast), ‘Neighbour Neighbour’ is one hell of a nostalgia kick for those (such as me) who are young enough to see the 90s as “nostalgic.”
Its back to business as usual for Violent Soho. But when business is this good, why change? Hanging out for a full new album now – if only to give me another tune or two, so I don’t drive myself mad from humming/singing “neighbour neighbour helps me breathe out everyday”
Violent Soho are touring November 15-23 in support of the ‘Tinderbox’/’Neighbour Neighbour’ single. They will also join Cloud Nothings on a quick jaunt in February.