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Scanners – Violence Is Golden

Released on Dim Mak Records, 06/06/06

This debut from London’s Scanners leaves something to be desired. Don’t get me wrong, the quartet have the formula down. Violence Is Golden is rich with three-minute pop songs, comfortable changes, and anthemic synth-lines reminiscent of the early 90s British re-invasion. But beyond the hooks and catches, this album lacks the staying power of its peers.

The opening tracks “Joy” and “Lowlife” are lyrically lacking, predictable and repetitive, though as Violence Is Golden progresses so -- it seems -- does the band. There are moments of lush clarity where the band borders on a nicely controlled chaos layered with harmonious vocals and droning feedback. Singer Sarah Daly sounds, at best, like Neko Case crossed with a heavily sedated Siouxsie Sioux, and guitarist Matthew Mole builds each song well, adding calculated elements of 60s melodies, brooding, gothic breaks, and up-beat dance-rock lines.

The real moments of greatness occur when the Scanners stray from the beaten down pop-synth-rally-rock path. Songs like “Evil Twin” and “Look What You Started” are charming and unique. They scream George Harrison and this is a good thing, my friends.
They are straightforward and sweet with subtle complexities and lilting backing vocals. Hopefully, songs like this are what we will have to look forward to in Scanners future releases.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars