"All That We Seem"
Belly of the Whale Music
In an era where bands are releasing more abbreviated EPs or forgoing hard copies of a recording altogether in lieu of downloading, comes Rochester rockers Violet Mary with its fourth and latest offering All That We Seem, a double album. That's right: two discs. Though the packaging is a little cumbersome, it still is reminiscent of so many gatefolds that preceded it. Disc 1 kicks off heavy and doesn't let up until Track 4, "Breathe in Deep," with its mellow power, endurance, and overcast lyricism. In fact, Disc 1 is the darker half of "All That We Seem's" night-and-day dichotomy.
But it isn't all doom and gloom. Singer Mel Muscarella's vocals are stern, strident, and secular despite the spirits she evokes. Hints of the Flaming Lips (just dig the cut "Hill Town") tinge the band's less traditional treatment of its otherwise traditional roots. That's particularly true in the guitar department, where also-producer Mike Muscarella's guitar shreds and shrieks as if he were a less pop-goofy Rick Nielsen. Violet Mary's accessibility may keep some from realizing that this is not only a hard-rock band, but also one of dimension and weight. Both discs are loaded with a limitlessly big-sky atmosphere. They take you on a sublime trip you won't want to return from anytime soon.