No Violet: ‘Faces’ EP

Bristol four-piece No Violet present us with their debut EP ‘Faces’ – of which there are many: in its daring eclecticism, ‘Faces’ is an EP that will slip through your fingers just when you think you’ve got a hold on it. There is something unnerving about No Violet’s sound that deviates from the mass-appeal of the so-called “alternative” genre; its bravery to plunge so entirely into their reckless, discordant landscape is a credit to their intrigue.

‘Faces’ opens with meandering strings and Ellie Godwin’s hysteric vibrato. The result is an anachronistic nightmare, throwing itself from lightness to the depths of a crunching, gothic instrumental breakdown. The outro sees the guitar tremble like a juddering chainsaw: a perfect illustrator of the darkness intrinsic to No Violet’s style.

“Come to me, what do you see?” Godwin croons in a girlish voice over taunting plucks of a guitar in ‘America’. She slips and slides, her pitch rising and plummeting with a neurotic frequency. The backing vocals No Violet uses liberally on ‘America’ creates a chorus that knocks you for six. It’s Herculean: expansive and exacting. If that wasn’t enough, in just under three minutes, No Violet’s slow tango rhythms on this track give them a reputation of deliberately letting their darts miss the board, just for the fun of it.

‘Behaviour’ drives in a slower gear – that’s the illusion they want you to believe, with a sinister, staccato instrumental that is cowed by Godwin’s shrill, trembling voice. That’s what makes the chorus an attack: it hits you without warning in all its fire and fury.

It would be easy to assume you can second-guess No Violet’s next move for their final track: leave in a blazing cacophony of noise with their rage ramped up to a thousand – well, you’re quite wrong. ‘She Goes Her Own Way’ by name, going its own way by nature: mellow country guitar twangs are accompanied by a haunting softness to Godwin’s vocals that are yet unseen. Tango sensibilities weave in and out, giving it an effortless pace and impact that other bands slave to achieve. ‘She Goes Her Own Way’ captures every mood, every shade of No Violet better than any other track on ‘Faces’ – and there are so many.

No Violet are playing a headline tour to support the release of the EP:

  • 19/09/18 – The Victoria, Dalston, London
  • 20/09/18 – Sticky Mike’s Frog Bar, Brighton
  • 21/09/18 – Crofters Rights, Bristol

Words by Sophie Walker and image via Leisure Records. 

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