Saved by Radio
The seven members of Vailhalen had free reign over a high school band room and instruments for its first full-length. The results are rawly monochromatic. Being neither a dog’s breakfast nor a symphony, Pop Violence has an early-’80s ramshackle jumpiness not unlike XTC or War-vintage U2. Two keyboards enrich the flow and tend to dominate the guitars, upping the dance factor considerably. Best cameo is by a girls’ rugby team, injecting teeth and mud into “Girls Fight!” Three songs are re-arrangements of the Calgarians’ older numbers. “Was it a Fix?’ hones a set favourite, via organ and ambient echo, to a new level of frenzy. Such theatricality blasting as if through a small radio is Vailhalen’s way of fighting the perils of overproduction.