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  Violet Indiana  
  Bella Union (Instinct in the USA)  
Release Date:
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In case you haven't figured it out yet, Violet Indiana is a sort of supergroup featuring the breathy vocals of former Mono singer Siobhan DeMare and the guitarwork of Robin Guthrie, known for being the mastermind behind Cocteau Twins. For their second full-length CD, Violet Indiana collected several songs from their EP releases of the previous year, and then threw in a few additional tunes just to make it a worthwhile purchase for their fans.

All of their previous releases have been reviewed here before, so if you want you can read about the four tracks that make up the Special EP (all of which are duplicated here) in that review. The songs Purr La Perla, Silent, and Torn Up are from the Choke EP, while Storm and Safe Word were originally on the Killer Eyes single. I have talked about each song before, so in order to prevent duplication i will just wait here a bit while you go and read up on those previously released tunes.

Back so soon? Okay, well, in addition to those nine tracks, there are three brand new tracks exclusive to this release. Let me examine each of them.

Bang Bang is the first of the new tracks, and it features Guthrie playing with a subtle echoing tremolo. DeMare sings through a bit of distortion, and her voice is more forceful here than usual. Combine this with the plentiful drumming, and the song almost comes across like one of Garbage's slower numbers. That might be a good thing, or a bad thing, depending on how you feel about Mr. Vig's band.

Ne Me Quitte Pas is actually a cover, the original being by Jacques Brel. I have no idea who this person is, but given the title and the author's name i would have expected the tune to be sung in French. [Editor's Note: Brel was a French singer/songwriter whose best known English tune was translated into the sappy ballad Seasons in the Sun.] Only about half the tune is sung in French, and i do not know if that is because M. Brel composed it that way, or if DeMare translated part of the song. Either way, it really works. The chorus features DeMare singing in a very sultry manner (and the French language is a real boon here) while Guthrie plays that light echoing guitar he is so fond of these days. They are backed up to great effect by light brushed drumming. The whole thing swells up during the choruses, with every element becoming fuller and more powerful. This is a really nice song, considering that the English half of the lyrics place it in the "cheesey love tune" category. I tend to not like such songs so much, but DeMare and Guthrie are able to pull it off here.

The final new track is called Heaven. This features a bit more instrumentation than some of the rest of the songs on this compilation. In addition to Guthrie's light guitarwork, there is a nice piano bit, and more of that brushed drumming. DeMare sings slowly, and, in fact, the whole song meanders along somewhat slowly. It really works, and i like the music in this one a lot. The piano adds a nice accompaniment to Guthrie's sparse guitar.

Of the three songs exclusive to this release, two of them are really nice, and one is okay. But let's not forget the 9 songs from other releases, including all of the wonderful Special EP, and many of the stronger tracks from two other releases.

Plus, act now and the CD will also include a .mov (QuickTime format video) for the song Killer Eyes, the same video that is on the CD single for that song.

Overall, that's a lot of stuff! And considering the generally high quality of Violet Indiana's work, this CD is a great choice as an introduction to this band.

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Violet Indiana releases to date, in chromological order:
   EP: Choke
   Album: Roulette
   Single: Killer Eyes
   EP: Special
Robin Guthrie released a solo ablum last year, titled Imperial.


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