Immediately, you’ll notice the great vocals of Sarah Daly – she slides effortlessly between deep, raspy-rich vocals on songs like "Evil Twin" and almost-shouted barks on tracks such as "Raw" and "Bombs." Indeed, her intriguing voice is what pulls you into the very deserving album Violence is Golden by the Scanners. Listen a little longer and the clever lyrics, song hooks, and driving, pulsing rhythms become apparent.
The opening track "Joy" starts with a slow, swirling dissonance that amplifies into an on-off again pounding guitar segueing to insistent drumming before Daly beginnings crooning about her "digital toy" that is "always there to enjoy." It’s a tribute to the band and songwriters Daly and Matthew Mole that they keep a three minute, 59 second song with only four lyrical verses interesting from start to finish. The song never feels repetitive or contrived as minimalist, new new-wave songs are often apt to.
The whole album, in fact, avoids the trap of monotony nicely. It moves from "Low Life," a Tegan And Sarah-esque love song with clever lyrics like "Under your skin under your skin under skin / Is a regular guy," to the laid-back, humorous "Bombs," reminiscent of The Clash, to the electronica-inspired number "High-Flyer," which despite weak lyrics works as a solid atmospheric piece. "In My Dreams" feature’s a murky, brooding soundscape similar to Joy Division, while Sarah Daly’s low vocals imbue the lyrics with a passion that lifts it above mere imitation to a compelling track in its own right.
Violence is Golden isn’t revolutionary or even fantastic – but is is filled with catchy songs spanning multiple soundscapes, the worst of which are mediocre but certainly not bad. The best are inventive and continually engaging like the afore-mentioned "Joy," "Low Life," and "In My Dream’s," along with the rambunctious "Air 164" with its slick, stylized, spit out vocals. I’ve had Violence is Golden for a while now, and each of these songs has found a playlist of mine to call home, and the album as a whole hasn’t yet lost its pull.
Overall, a very good start for a very promising band.