Viola Beach by Viola Beach | Album Review


Viola Beach is the posthumous album from Warrington’s Viola Beach. Last year I had the pleasure of witnessing the four-piece perform on the BBC Introducing stage at Reading & Leeds Festival and was blown away by their vibrant display of great indie rock. Their singles ‘Swings & Waterslides’ and ‘Boys That Sing’ provided all of the yearning lyrics, sunny instrumentals and youthful enthusiasm to make it easy to fall in love with them. Unfortunately a tragic accident during the band’s first overseas tour resulted in their careers ending before they truly had a chance to get started. However, thanks to the bands’ families they were able to get their debut album released to the world, which reached the #1 spot here in the UK.

This record displays nine tracks that the band fortunately managed to record into a decent quality which reveal the huge potential Viola Beach had as the next big thing to come out of the UK. ‘Swings & Waterslides’ features an upbeat instrumental with crashing drums, summery guitar melodies and a whole lot of hooks to kick things off in a very accessible and catchy way. ‘Go Outside’ maintains this upbeat feel by delivering its own set of sunny melodies and off-kilter funky beat, as well as a couple of simply effective hooks too.

‘Drunk’ sees Viola Beach head towards a much more downtrodden side as despite the danceable drums the guitars perform a slightly more sombre riff which combines nicely with more subdued melodies. ‘Really Wanna Call’ also brings back memories of the lyrical content heard throughout Arctic Monkeys’ debut record, which leads in nicely to ‘Call You Up’ – the longest track on the record.

Viola Beach closes out with two tracks which help shift the mood into the much happier tone of it’s beginning. ‘Get To Dancing’ is a live performance from the band’s BBC Sessions and this rawer cut really helps gets the dancing vibes sinking deep into the hips and toes. It’s an infectiously great track, which makes way for the band’s final single ‘Boys That Sing’.

‘Boys That Sing’ encapsulates everything that was special about Viola Beach. It’s catchy instrumental is well layered with guitars that slip and shake between the forever dancing drums and the deep-rooted basslines. It’s big booming chorus ascends into another level as it swells with lyrics of taking on the world and the desire of wanting to make a name for yourself, which alongside the confession of learning to sing to get a girl to like you makes it clear why it was easy to get behind Viola Beach.

It’s a tremendous shame what happened to Viola Beach but with the release of this record, the four boys from Warrington and their manager can be remembered for producing nine songs that proudly display a level of boyish charm and gusto that resonates with everybody. This record is brilliant, and it’s a great thing to be able to experience the sound of Viola Beach as they intended it to be. Their legacy can now be remembered via the medium of catchy, scrappy coming of age music which is something that will remain forever. RIP boys.

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