Violens, "Amoral"

74 Billboard Rating

One could fashion a drinking game of "spot the influence" for Violens' debut, "Amoral." And be assured that all participants would wind up pretty blotto by the time the album's 12 tracks finish. But be equally assured that the Brooklyn trio manages to put enough of its own spin on "Amoral" to make it more invigorating than imitative. No contemporary New York area group can avoid the Strokes, whose bright guitar attack shows up here on the track "Full Collision." But Violens' primary motif is the gauzy side of '80s British new wave-Joy Division, New Order, the Cure and others of the ilk, with nods to Oasis ("Could You Stand to Know?"). Traces of Muse also show up in such proggier arrangements as "Acid Reign" and "It Couldn't Be Perceived." There's a bit of '60s on the set as well, but all of it is delivered with such an assured tone and an easy melodicism that nothing sounds particularly forced or labored. For something drawn from so many obvious sources, "Amoral" is refreshingly original.