6 Feb 2014
Violet Swells "Jupiters Garden" Review
Bloody hell, the Australians are brilliant at psychedelia right now. I've covered a bunch of different Australian artists over the last year or two that have played material that has ranged from heavy psych to krautrock to nu-gaze, and now Hobart's Violet Swells throw their hat in the ring and prove themselves to be masters of effortlessly swirling psychedelic baroque-pop.
Where the other Australian artists I've featured often tend to operate at the heavier rock end of the psych spectrum, Ben Simms and his crew have an ear for melody and a knack for a classic sounding baroque pop tune that to their credit and the listener's benefit, they never make vintage for vintage sake - retro rock this isn't. There's certainly an acknowledgement of their influences, with these two sides coming in somewhere between Brian Wilson and Syd Barrett, but they're presented in the sort of beat heavy, contemporary format that successful crossover artists like Tame Impala and Temples have adopted, with exquisite attention to detail in both arrangements and production.
A-side "Jupiters Garden" has more than a whiff of Jacco Gardener about it, with a massive riff in tow and a huge percussive sound that makes it impossible to not at least fidget to, as well as some lovely, unexpected mellotron moments during the bridge. It's a huge track, but the b-side "Only" is arguably even better - a mellow baroque-pop waltz, gifted with an exquisite melody that's as subtle as it is infectious.
Definitely more than the sum of it's parts, this is extremely impressive stuff, even more so when you bear in mind that it's a debut.
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