24 Sep 2020
UsernamePassword

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

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

Releases

Beggar
Year: 2020
Type: EP
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

Eli Moore - EP Review: Home Skillet
29 Jul 2020 // by Callum Wagstaff
In 2017 Eli Moore released his first full length album. Ship Life revolved around his experience as a cruise ship musician and referenced his appreciation of the harmonies and forms of jazz music within a classic pop context.
Read More...
Internet Death - Album Review: Not Your Dog!
09 Jul 2020 // by Callum Wagstaff
Mild mannered billionaire journalist (citation needed) 17-year-old Christchurch musician by day, Finlay Anderson dons the Internet Death undies by night to slap us in the ass-face with the cyber hardcore anti-hero anarchist justice of Not Your Dog!Christchurch in 2020 is a Petri dish of physical isolation and the chaos of the entire world being beamed directly into the brains of the population potentially 24/7.
Read More...
Screw Jack - EP Review: Back in the Saddle
02 Jul 2020 // by Callum Wagstaff
Screw-Jack is a musical duo separated by the cook straight and brought together by the wonders of modern technology. The inciting incident that brought Matt Schobs and Mark Tupuhi together happened back in 2007 and somewhere along the way the post-pop electro freakbeat sounds of Screw-Jack were conceived.
Read More...
Something Zesty - Single Review: Mad About It
24 Jun 2020 // by Callum Wagstaff
'All Zest, No Stress' is the catchphrase for Whanganui-based one-man cartoon band Something Zesty. If it were on a cereal box it would be the bit written in a big spiked speech balloon.
Read More...
Marshmellow - Album Review: Secrets of the Universe
04 Jun 2020 // by Callum Wagstaff
From a world of bottomless resilience and optimism comes Marshmellow's Secrets of the Universe. A Eurovision wet dream forged in environmental hope and poverty-stricken despair with a solid gold, true-love center.
Read More...
Big Scout - Single Review: Flung
30 May 2020 // by Callum Wagstaff
At times dizzying and sometimes catastrophically frenetic, Flung descends into chaos.Flung is the first of four singles set for release over the coming months from Blenheim's guitar bashing wastrels Big Scout.
Read More...
Known Associates - Album Review: Ride the Wave
26 May 2020 // by Callum Wagstaff
Known Associates have had a successful 2019 opening for big acts like Living Colour, The Feelers and The Jordan Luck Band. Ride the Wave is their second full length outing, following Penny Love and the Rebound EP.
Read More...
Goodspace - Album Review: Under the Loquat Tree
14 May 2020 // by Callum Wagstaff
Goodspace started life in 2017 as a more grunge influenced band called Restless Electric before refining their line-up and reconvening their efforts in a more lo-fi indie Britpop capacity. In 2019 they emerged as Goodspace, dedicated to helping listeners feel present and providing a more connected experience; "from our goodspace to yours".
Read More...
View All Articles By Callum Wagstaff

NZ Top 10 Singles

  • WAP
    Cardi B feat. Megan Thee Stallion
  • MOOD
    24kGoldn feat. Iann Dior
  • SAVAGE LOVE (LAXED - SIREN BEAT)
    Jawsh 685 x Jason DeRulo
  • LEMONADE
    Internet Money And Gunna feat. Don Toliver And NAV
  • IN THE AIR
    L.A.B.
  • LAUGH NOW CRY LATER
    Drake feat. Lil Durk
  • GO CRAZY
    Chris Brown And Young Thug
  • HEAD & HEART
    Joel Corry feat. MNEK
  • MOOD SWINGS
    Pop Smoke feat. Lil Tjay
  • ROCKSTAR
    DaBaby feat. Roddy Ricch
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