The story behind Buffalo, NY’s Made Violent is a lot different than that of most bands these days. Formed at the tail end of 2013, the trio’s first move was to seclude themselves in a cabin and make music. A few weeks later they released their first single “Wasted Days”, a blistering garage rock anthem with obvious, yet satisfying influence from The Strokes, which was enough to blow away the writers at NME and guarantee an explosion of popularity. After a year of releasing a few more songs and going back and forth across the pond, they’ve now released their debut, self-titled EP on Startime International / Columbia Records. But what should’ve been a buzzworthy first impression to a worldwide audience prior to the release of their upcoming full-length is instead a wasted opportunity at something different, choosing to play it safe instead of offering something new.
After releasing the trio of singles with “Wasted Days”, “Inside Out” and “Dirty” by the end of last March, and even following them up with a double A-side a month later, I was surprised to find all three of them as the latter end of the EP. All three are great songs on their own, but when combined with the two new tracks included in this release, they lose the magic they originally had. This is mostly due to the fact that there is more variation in the production between the new tracks–“Two Tone Hair” and “On My Own”–and the latter three, than there is in the songs themselves. The offering here is simply too small, homogenous and repetitive, which feels like the opposite of the band’s image and attitude.
Despite this, and as I mentioned before, these songs are great. “Two Tone Hair” is simply gigantic, demonstrating the band’s lyrical and instrumental appreciation for The Rolling Stones and the UK in a ferocity of gritty and Britpop-y vibes. And “On My Own” manages to hold itself back to just Joe White’s raspy yells before all hell breaks loose in the form of the incredible pop sensibilities that its chorus holds. Although the production value varies between the remaining three tracks, it’s also convenient for new fans to have these earlier tracks compiled into one place prior to the release of the band’s debut LP.
Made Violent has managed to do so much in so little time, and that’s what should be praised. In terms of Made Violent, it acts and maintains the cohesion of a sampler rather than a full-fledged effort, which I don’t expect to be an issue when they actually release a full-length record. Despite a consistent upbeat tempo throughout its thirteen-minute running time, these songs should still get a lot of love as the summer months approach and especially as the countdown to what the band does next ticks on.