ALBUM REVIEW: Viola Beach – ‘Viola Beach’

viola beach boys that sing

Viola Beach’s only album will be release on July 29th. Five months ago, the indie pop band died in Sweden along with their manager when their car came off the road. The band’s families are releasing Viola Beach’s music via Fuller Bean records in their debut and final album, comprising eight songs and a BBC Session.

From the opening chords of ‘Swings and Waterslides’, the single the UK has grown to love, there’s a hum of electricity to the album. Maybe it’s the hazy, Alex Turner-esque, confidence. Maybe it’s the way the track feels full, not stone left unturned in the band’s pursuit of encapsulating energy. Maybe it’s the colourful bursts that interupt the blase vocals. Whatever the cause, the hit is still, well, a hit.

In comparison to the album’s opener, there’s a tendency to find ‘Like A Fool’ a bit empty. Less of the all-consuming energy, less colouring over the lines. Instead, it’s a simpler number, which makes space for Kris Leonard’s vocals to dance playfully across the instrumental, pushing and pulling. The chorus’ kick doesn’t have the weight one might expect, but intermittent surges rush the song along.

Unsurprisingly, ‘Go Outside’ has a light summery lilt to it. Leonard ups his vocal performance once again, and though it’s such a simple thing the song longs for, real emotion is conveyed. And of course, no harm is done by the frequent Saint Raymond-esuqe riffs. Changing things up, ‘Cherry Vimto’ provides a different pace. Almost shyly, Leonard’s vocals take a backseat. The backing steps forward and once again Viola Beach prove what they’re about: music that grabs you. Oh, and they’re not afraid to show you how to smash a riff. Though it never feel out of control or disorganised, there’s a friendly disarray to the track’s instrumental, a relaxed chaos.

A cinematic swoop opens ‘Drunk’, before the distinct Viola Beach sound piques the song’s curiosity and absorbs it. Something between the heart on sleeve, frank lyricism and the emotions that come with it makes this track bound to be a fan favourite. With refrains that build and instrumentals that spiral, ‘Drunk’ is a stand out song for its creativity. Catfish and the Bottlemen-esque ‘Really Wanna Call’ follows. Viola Beach’s trick of anonymous storytelling makes the wholealbum both intriguing and relatable, and this song is a perfect example.

A world away from the in-your-face riffs and brash vocals, ‘Call You Up’ is a surprisingly humble track. Instead of diving and soaring, this obviously personal number rolls along with Leonard’s vocals heavy with emotion. In the lyrics’ repetition there’s a sense of desperation, longing for reciprocated affection.

The album reaches the home straight with penultimate ‘Get To Dancing’, and it’s important to note how well executed the track is, performed for a BBC session. Lead single ‘Boys That Sing’ closes Viola Beach, summing up, in less than three and a half minutes, all the brilliance the band had to offer.

Due to the circumstances, there’s a risk of bigging up the band’s work out of respect. This makes it difficult to convey how genuinely brilliant Viola Beach is. Rest assured, this is a release that family and fans should be immensely proud of.

Some of the coverage you find on Cultured Vultures contains affiliate links, which provide us with small commissions based on purchases made from visiting our site. We cover gaming news, movie reviews, wrestling and much more.