Violent Mae is a purely by-chance duo; the story is a bit of a girl meets boy, but it has a little bit more musical integrity than just that. The team met up when Becky Kessler sought to have her first solo album recorded. She hit it off with Floyd Kellogg and the two realized they were capable of making some music. All in all, the two are by all means a dynamic duo. They’re sort of indie, sort of bluesy, very much awesome. The big debut is self-titled and all in all, a perfect album for a brand new band.
When the album first kicks off, things are a little awkward yet cool. “Later On,” features a bluesy yet incoherent melody. The band keeps it simple and kind of gives you a real taste of what’s to come: simple yet strong melodies, and great vocals. There’s no doubt about it, Floyd Kellogg and Becky Kessler make one hell of a team and it shows early on. Kessler brings an awesome, smooth and strong voice to the table that will leave you captivated for the entirety of the album.
At it’s worst, the album tends to be just plain lacking. Without a doubt the duo comes with a really full sound, but take for instance the fifth track, “Man In The Country.” The same, simple, repetitious melody is more painful to hear again and again than it is inviting. Kessler’s voice is wonderful, but there’s still something missing –it’s a very long, dragged out four minutes. Similarly, “Long Hard Wait,” suffers in the same kind of way. Admittedly, the instrumentation is much better, but it still sort of drags out with no real climax. Even after “Long Hard Wait” begins to build in energy, there’s still much to be desired. While these might be okay songs, they’re missing something.
Becky Kessler is really the centerpiece of the band. While instrumentation and vocals are given equal attention, it’s not hard to see the focus on her singing. I believe I eluded to it before but if not, let’s make this clear: Kessler’s voice is fantastic, she’s an amazing singer. On the other hand, so often there’s just times where you really want to hear her let loose. Maybe it’s not in the girl’s style but with such a strong voice you’d really expect some sort of groundbreaking, super emotional, ultra memorable moment –and it’s not there. There is however at least one stand out song. “No Way Out,” really features the most dynamic vocals you’ll hear on the album. The guitar, drums, and Kessler’s voice really come out in full force. There’s varying melodies, and so much more attention is paid to the actual volume and texture of the song. It’s really the big moment of the album that you’ve been looking for.
Violent Mae finds ways to really show their talent off in other songs as well. “Mother’s Song” is another wonderful track. The drum beat adds a slightly more happy tone to the mix, the guitar chords really make the song feel full, and Kessler really shines through again. It’s no blockbuster of a song, but it’s still pretty great. It’s so incredibly easy to get wrapped up in it that by the next track rolls around, you hardly even realized it –which brings us to the next song. “Right Here,” is another slower paced, mellowed out track. The song is sort of groovy in it’s own way, the melody pushes along slowly but with style. The guitar sounds clean and blends well with the vocals. All in all, pretty good.
So Violent Mae isn’t life-changing, but they’re still great. There’s times where you’re left yearning for more, and times where you’re pretty impressed. They’re a great band if you love great singers paired with melancholic, super expressive melodies, well boy oh boy are they the band for you. Overall, Violent Mae is a wonderful addition to the music world and an awesome addition to anybody’s collection.
Violent Mae “No Way Out” (removed by request)
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