28 Feb 2020

Remember Me? | Join | Recover
Click here to sign in via social networking

Villainy - Album Review: Raised in the Dark

21 Jul 2019 // A review by Callum Wagstaff

Villainy have been winning awards for their albums since their debut, so you don't need my review to convince you that you're gonna have a good time with Raised In The Dark. Their riffs are as saucy as ever and their crafting has reached a new level: they picked the 10 tracks on this album from a staggering pool of 107. Where there has been a stimulating new mutation in the Villainy organism is the concept. There is an overarching theme that weaves in and out of the songs.

The band worked with long-time collaborator Tom Larkin over the course of a handful of sessions at his Melbourne based recording studio. Tom Larkin is the drummer for Kiwi rock royalty Shihad and I can't resist comparing the album to Shihad's Love Is The New Hate era in a game of pick the Shihad album. Raised In The Dark combines the approach of recording four musicians vibing live in a room together (as was the case in their sophomore album Dead Sight) with the more clinical tracking method used in Mode.Set.Clear, their debut effort. The combination lets them keep the immediacy of a raw band performance while providing the flexibility to add more complexity into the recordings.

Larkin's outside influence allowed the band to more objectively distil their ideas into concentrated rock earworm masterpieces like the pessimistically confrontational Dreams, which captured my attention right away. I couldn't resist the slacker-rage refrain "No-one gives a fuck about your dreams." As a side note, hearing the static-spike censor blip on the radio edit had more impact on me than hearing the word "fuck", which I casually sprinkle into all my business meetings and dinner table talk.

The title track and album opener was a sleeper hit for me. It didn't take a large space in my mind until I'd heard Dreams a few times, but now any time I visit a shower, toilet or elderly relative my brain plays the opening line: "can't afford a house and you can't afford a wedding ring." The songs are such a force that I sometimes found myself wanting for a grittier production style to really accommodate the unshaven swagger of the music. That grunt is something that Villainy have cut themselves a reputation for in their live shows and I look forward to seeing a deeper integration of that appeal in their future albums.

I hadn't heard Uncomfortable before listening to the album and it grabbed me the most out of all the new-to-my-ears songs. The chorus melody is a great combo of catchy, moody and compositionally interesting. Where Dreams resonated with my sense of frustration and Raised In The Dark gave me a society to blame for it, I felt Uncomfortable offered me a way to be philosophical about any discontent it reminded me of. Vocalist Neill Fraser wrote it while the rest of the band was tracking for the record and exiled him to their apartment to finish songs. It speaks to my tastes that he wrote this song on isolation, whiskey, sleeping pills and self-inflicted misery spewed out on to paper in an hour. I always appreciate hearing that kind of essential, cathartic songwriting. Ironically enough it made me feel comforted to remember that "you've got to be uncomfortable."

IFXS is the snake in the grass and I feel the need to praise it specifically after preaching the merits of the album motif. This song throws it away for a second and reminds you that Villainy are, first and foremost, just here to rock your bowels loose. It stands for I fucked a Snake and it means very little but it's an absolute banger and sure to go off live like a letterbox firework at a bachelor party.

Whether it's the climate change terror I get from Tiny Little Island or the inescapable futility I feel from Dreams, Raised In The Dark is a reaction to the hopeless sense of existential dread felt by people of a post-modern generation. In true rock and roll fashion, Villainy offer me a vehicle to gleefully scream that everything is fucking bullshit as I spill beer on the back of the shirtless person in front of me.

Rating: ( 5 / 5 )

About Villainy

vill·uh·nee /?vil?nç/
Noun: 1. The actions or conduct of a villain; outrageous wickedness.
2. Maniacal rock band from Auckland, New Zealand.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Villainy


Raised In The Dark
Year: 2019
Type: Album
Buy Online @ Mightyape
Dead Sight
Year: 2015
Type: Album
Mode. Set. Clear.
Year: 2012
Type: Album

Other Reviews By Callum Wagstaff

VÏKÆ - Single Review: Liar
27 Feb 2020 // by Callum Wagstaff
Liar is the third in a trio of narratively linked singles by Ukrainian born artist VïKÆ. Like the two songs preceding it, last September's Truth and November's Rumours, Liar deals with the issue of integrity within the context of relationships.
Holloway Holiday - Single Review: Please Hold (An Operator Will Be With You Indefinitely)
27 Feb 2020 // by Callum Wagstaff
A fire siren boots up as a clap-along snare cracks its way across a crushed up vocal telling some barely indecipherable story about talking to an operator who's either gonna get murdered or is coming to murder you or something but then it all cuts out leaving a whispered "already dead."The song launches back into the chorus with the slanted scribbly voice half chanting half crooning the catch phrase lyrics over the naked crunch of punk riffing chords: "It's the way you've got me wrapped around your little finger.
Konarucchi - Single Review: Her Glow
20 Feb 2020 // by Callum Wagstaff
Her Glow is the very first single on the very first EP from Konarucchi; whose moniker is a nickname given to him during his high school exchange in Japan. Though he has his hands in many different pots such as production, game music, and his band Pale Lady; the Stuck in Daydreams EP is a chance for him to explore his philosophy that the cohesion in a musical work comes from the artist and not from staying close to one musical genre.
Impostor Syndrome - Single Review: The Hole in Your Head
08 Feb 2020 // by Callum Wagstaff
Shannon Coulomb, Scott Nicolson and Ryan Culleton form the components of Imposter Syndrome. Coulomb chose the name as a kind of pact that nothing will get in the way of releasing music.
EP Review: Frannkkey
20 Dec 2019 // by Callum Wagstaff
Sinister and sexy,  Frannkkey contains bass vibes so deep they massage the very marrow in your sternum until it shakes out of your pores.Frank Eggleton is a prolific fixture within the Wellington music scene, being involved in bands and projects like Solo Ono and Tidal Rave.
Rumour City - EP Review: Bury All The Lies
11 Dec 2019 // by Callum Wagstaff
Auckland based band Rumour City are a fairly new occurrence. As of 2019 they have a handful of gigs under their belt and a debut EP.
Andrew Masseurs - Single/Video Review: Days They Come, Days They Go
01 Dec 2019 // by Callum Wagstaff
In a world where keeping busy and treating lack of sleep like a badge of honour is a step away from being a religion, watching somebody spend a day lazing in the summer sun might fill a viewer with a sense of discomfort. Perhaps even abject dread.
Makeshift Parachutes - Album Review: The Daily Absurd
14 Nov 2019 // by Callum Wagstaff
What started as a jam session in a wine cellar in Houston Texas around 2012 would eventually emerge in Auckland, New Zealand under the name Makeshift Parachutes. Seven years later Makeshift Parachutes are releasing their debut full length album: The Daily Absurd.
View All Articles By Callum Wagstaff

NZ Top 10 Singles

    Justin Bieber feat. Quavo
    Roddy Ricch
    Justin Bieber
    Dua Lipa
    The Weeknd
    Tones And I
    Billie Eilish
    Lewis Capaldi
View the Full NZ Top 40...
muzic.net.nz Logo
100% New Zealand Music
All content on this website is copyright to muzic.net.nz and other respective rights holders. Redistribution of any material presented here without permission is prohibited.
Report a ProblemReport A Problem