Victorian Halls is a band that exists somewhere between punk, pop, hardcore and art.
If nothing else is going for them, they can at least say that they are unique. Luckily for Victorian Halls, their debut Charlatan – released through Victory Records – has more going for it than just a unique factor.
Album opener “Girls Kiss Girls” takes the listener straight into the distinctive musical sound that is Victorian Halls, launching listeners into it with the shrill falsetto of Sean Lennart, then blasting into a post-hardcore chorus, before diving right into a thumping pop/dance groove. This song format is definitely not typical, but Victorian Halls aren’t here to be ordinary. They write pop songs, that are raucous, loud, heavy and that little bit spastic.
Charlatan is chaotic in a completely organised way. It is not noise for noise’s sake – though it may appear that way in tracks such as “Super Champagne” that features distorted guitars over a rampant drum beat, with the banshee screaming vocals and paroxysmal chaos of keys – yet there is order in their method. The combination of genres isn’t a musical disaster but a new wave of groove, electronic adrenaline that has the mix just right, without becoming a musically distasteful mash up of sounds.
For most part the record follows suit with the berzerk, groove laden, danceable pop/hardcore, yet the last few tracks (“Lucky 16” and “Dear, This is Desperate”) see Victorian Halls bringing a carnival theme into the mix. The keys go from being punchy, synthesised and very ‘80s to having a theatrical carnival sound taking the music to a level of vaudeville rock.
Charlatan is musically all over the place with an underlying method to the madness. Picking out the best of punk, hardcore, pop and new wave indie, creating a sound that will lead to a quick obsession.
1. Girls Kiss Girls
2. Glass Depth Mood
3. Burn Me Up Like a Wax-kissed Letter
4. A Crush is a Crush
5. Black Maria
6. Upper East Side
7. La di Da
8. Sugar Champagne
9. It All Started in the Hall
10. Lucky 16
11. Dear, this is Desperate
12. Martini Elegance