Australian quartet Violent Soho– with their ever cringe-worthy name– have released their third full length album Hungry Ghost, and it sort of feels like a trip back to the late 1990s in which something went terribly wrong. With all the ’90s nostalgia these days, many bands are trying to emulate the sounds of Nirvana, Mudhoney and other grunge greats, and this group has tried to do the same, but ends up sounding more like a bad Better Than Ezra song. With lyrics that sound ripped straight from a 12-year old girl’s diary, it’s hard to imagine anyone who this record would appeal to.
Hungry Ghost opens with the cliché guitar riffs of “Dope Calypso” *really, what is it with these names?) that prepares you for the generic early 2000s bastardization of pop punk that one would expect to see opening at Warped Tour, but what it doesn’t ready the listener for is the consistently flat, whiny, and downright abrasive vocals that follow. Violent Soho also takes on the pop punk ballad with “Saramona Said,” which sounds predictably wistful and ends with a breakdown you’d find played by any number of garage bands you’d find in any suburb across America. The only highlight of the album is “Ok Cathedral,” which sounds the most like the grunge roots they claim to have, but even that solace doesn’t last long in this record.
Unoriginal, uninteresting and unpleasant to listen to, fans of either style that Violent Soho sloppily tries to combine should probably avoid this record altogether and stick to the classics. Already twenty years too late to have hoped for “one hit wonder” status with their mediocre Gin Blossoms rip-offs, Hungry Ghost would be best forgotten about and relegated to the bottoms of bargain CD bins so we can focus on the bands that actually know how to revamp the ’90s.