Here's a new slice of vinyl from The Violets: their second single, a double A-side, and two songs that detonate with the unexpected incandescence of a firework through the letterbox. Now, I must confess to a experiencing a slight twinge of nerves as I dropped my needle into the groove. The Violets' debut single, the sparky and glorious 'Mirror Mirror', was a thing of such stripped-down new wave glory that I wondered if the band's follow-up release would catch fire in quite the same way.
Oh, me of little faith. The Violets have done it again, and they make it all seem so effortless. 'Descend' is staccato and abrupt, squalls of guitar chucked into the gaps between machine-gun bursts of drumming, and a vocal that leaps hither and thither above the racket, as if vocalist Alexis is crossing a foaming moutain stream, jumping from rock to rock - and she never gets her feet wet. It's all over in one minute and thirty-nine seconds, but the band manage to pack so much energy into that brief timespan they make the Yeah Yeah Yeahs look like Dire Straits.
At three minutes and fifty-five seconds, 'Carnival' is virtually a rock opera by comparison. With all those extra minutes to play with, The Violets allow themselves time to stretch out a bit. There's an intro of guitar-torture that reminds me insistently of the screeching intro to Cabaret Voltaire's 'Nag Nag Nag', then the drums tumble in as the song builds into a glorious reverb-soaked racket - and if, at certain moments, it sounds like it's going to turn into 'Jigsaw Feeling', it always pulls back at the crucial moment and immediately darts off on another tangent. The Violets aren't afraid to let their influences show here and there, but their own band-personality is always dominant, and their own ideas always take precedence. That's a skill which is far more scarce than it should be these days. Here, The Violets deliver two fragments of spiky art-punk heaven on seven inches of slinky black stuff.