Violens are a New York-based trio who whirl together influences from all over the map. Their first single “Acid Reigns,” from debut album Amoral, flashes bits of shoegaze, 60’s psychedelia, and Britpop before a pulsing piano riff lends the suggestion of prog and washes of synths pull back hints of new wave. It’s a mess of layers, held together by a fast-paced strummed guitar and vocalist Jorge Elbrecht. But while scattered, the music never breaches the limit of control; Elbrecht holds the reigns with the pomp and swagger of a seasoned frontman. This is a good thing because any other band would be crushed under the weight of their ambition, but by wearing their roots on their sleeve and not bowing to singular genre pressure, Violens succeed in crafting a debut that’s one of the most diverse and riveting of the year.
And their set at Mellow Johnny’s Bike Shop during KEXP’s broadcast from SXSW was no exception — melodic, searing, and all around dynamic. Check out the photos here: