Brand Violet – SPUTNIK BRIDE (EP)

Retrovision Coma USAHot on the heels (or maybe ahead of, it’s hard to keep track when they release a record every nine minutes) of their splendid debut album (Retrovision Coma USA) is SPUTNIK BRIDE.

This very strong 3-track effort includes Catnip, The Caged Ones and the title track. Catnip starts with a mind-numbing throb as the weary hyperdrive gets up to speed before someone pushes the button and UFOs descend upon a small Western town and the first carnival of the season. There’s gonna be a gunfight at noon – if anyone survives the pod invasion. Add the wails of the damned on backing vocals , capped by what can only be a complete breakdown of the Interceptor’s instrumention due to the effective ECM that they call a solo as the jet spins out of control behind the ridge. But the party goes on.

It’s suddenly the next morning, and through the rippling heat, Spaghetti Western guitars pry us from hangovers and sheets damp with perspiration. The carnival has left town but the festival planners have left the stage up for tonight’s rock show. This is the soundcheck, conducted with a mood of laissez-faire looseness and the edge of too many nights of vodka and amphetamines. Sally-Ann Marsh can’t be bothered using her microphone, so a bull horn will have to do. This is what rock should aspire too, not the gentle strums of guitars your dad covets, but something cheap turned up way too loud.

The show begins at sundown.

Sputnik Bride tells a theatrical tale of manic depression, with quiet quiets, loud louds, thundering thumps, breathy beckonings and satanic screaming. It’s as if Wendy James had balls and fronted Metallica.

Is this where Brand Violet’s softer side ends? Is it Brand Violet’s ‘new direction’? Castoffs seen as ‘too dark’ or ‘too heavy’ for their first record, which is more crossover though perhaps less aggressive in spots? Do questions like this matter?

No, they don’t. I like it when a band paints in a part of the canvass you didn’t expect, and when you step back, you can’t have imagined the picture any other way.

— Juan dos Passos

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