by James Fleming
Jarring, repetitive synth lines clash with a propulsive, stop/start beat. Murky, accented vocals spit melodies at you from the speakers. VvvV’s untitled debut album is, shall we say, “a walk on the wild side.”
Visceral is the word. “Raw” and “electronic” are not words that you see in the same sentence very often. But both are fitting descriptions for VvvV’s brand of chilling synth-punk.
If they were ever, and they shouldn’t, but if they did remake A Clockwork Orange, this French duo should compose the soundtrack.
Forget Soft Cell’s soft odes to the seedy side of life. VvvV’s music sounds like a sordid futuristic snuff-movie being made.
Tracks such as the nightmarish Your Life would make a person fear for their life. The relentless pulsing of their drum machines add a sense of menace and mayhem with malice aforethought. While the low-mixed vocals, distorted and fragmented, are like a fractured reflection of traditional vocal stylings.
Lead single Clean lures you in with a beckoning finger. The opening rigidly un-syncopated line “Hello-it’s-me-again,” is a line straight from your worst cauchemar.
Marilyn Manson wishes he sounded this creepy. The synthesiser riffs are each several tonnes in weight but never do they veer into the slow or monotonous.
The spirit of seminal synth-punk act Suicide can be found in VvvV. As well as using the post-punk movement of the late seventies/early eighties to lay the foundation for their music, VvvV have taken those influences to their absolute extreme. This result is invigorating if terrifying.
Where traditional rock music has been reused and recycled almost to the point of no return, electronic music is making fresh waves among young music fans of the 21st Century. VvvV are but one example of that.
Where rock music, straight up roots rock n’ roll that is, refuses to build upon its past and insists upon keeping it the way it was in the seventies, electronic musicians are producing new and exciting music from all corners of the globe.
And VvvV stand tall as a testament to that. On their debut record they have crafted nine songs of pure, unrefined, rawness.
Not Stooges-esque rawness mind you, but a new rawness. One we have not seen before where the menace of Suicide has been coupled with the melody of the new-pop acts of the early eighties. It’s an arresting combination. And one that, if you don’t find it, it will find you.