I’ve written out and deleted at least twenty opening lines while trying to kickstart this album review. From inspirational messages, to thoughtful condolences, to moments of fear and frustration, my blinking cursor seems to disapprove of just about every set-up I can dream of.
Here’s the thing – I absolutely adored Viola Beach. From the very first time I heard “Swings and Waterslides,” I knew these youngsters were onto something big. It was just last summer. The days were growing shorter, but these four lads from Warrington gave my aging bones something to hold on to as winter’s chilly winds blew across Colorado. Release by release, I was continually drawn to their highly engaging, pop-structured tunes, each giving way to wide-spreading grins, incessantly tapping feet, and the urgent sense to spread the word about this budding talent.
’Viola Beach – Swings & Waterslides’
Earlier this year, as most of you know, Kris, River, Tomas, Jack and their manager Craig were taken well before their time in a tragic car accident. I certainly don’t feel like highlighting that evening, though, as even in death, these talented souls have far more to offer than just a mournful headline and story.
We are tremendously proud of everything the boys achieved in such a short space of time,” the band’s families said. “Craig, Jack, Kris, River and Tom shared a huge passion, talent, and dedication to music.
We believe the best way to celebrate our sons’ lives is to release an album of their songs.”
If you followed along with the releases that preceded that night, you’ll know that they were rife with proper amounts of energetic percussion, playful guitar work, and anthemic lyrics that paved the way for happy, dancing feet across the globe. Just one trip through “Boys That Sing” should be more than enough to have you proudly belting out the chorus as you prance around your living room, whether or not you actually know how to sing. That certainly seemed to be the case at Glastonbury a few weeks back, when Coldplay covered that very song on the main stage.
While those three releases were more than enough to cement a lifelong legacy, we have a few more to add to our beloved collection. That brings us to today. As honored as I was to premiere Viola Beach’s debut song, I’m doubly honored to provide one of the first album reviews for them.
’Viola Beach – Boys That Sing’
“Swings and Waterslides,” “Cherry Vitmo,” and “Boys That Sing” aside, this collection has hits spilling out from every seam.
Take “Like A Fool,” for example: Led by a sportive guitar riff, it immediately welcomes you in, taking you by the hand to the eventual chorus, which could be reserved for the night after your next break up. (Not that we’re wishing that upon you–but it happens, and it’s always good to have songs to get you through it.)
“Drunk” brings an expertly crafted blend of emotive nuances and danceable rhythms, offering an interesting juxtaposition. While the lyrics are melancholy, its healthy rhythmic backbone maintains a pace that’s will undeniably have people nodding their head along with the ripping guitar breakdowns and heavy snare work.
One of my favorite tunes in this collection is definitely “Really Wanna Call,” which beckons comparisons to legends like Paul Simon, and modern marvels like The 1975, The Wombats, or St. Lucia. While it will never see stadiums full of the singing fans it so rightfully deserves, it will always carry the weight that other anthems in its class do.
The collection is destined for greatness, regardless of the fact that Viola Beach won’t see so many of the world’s stages they was bound to play. Instead, their greatness will be held in the headphones and speakers of adoring fans across the globe, with more and more discovering how truly incredible these guys were.
Help embrace and share the legacy by picking up their album through the band’s own label Fuller Beans Records.