If you are looking for an album to while the hours away with, then Violet City Lantern by Murals is the album for you.
Hailing from Louisville, this is their first album after existing in one way, shape or form for a decade or so. Sitting firmly in the psych-pop mould, this is a work of Beach Boy tinged harmonies, soundscaping of such depth you can lose yourself in, and a rhythm and groove you’ll find from the very best that pop has to offer.
At 15 songs in length, you might at first think that it’s going to be a mammoth task to sit down and listen to, and you might be correct in one respect. I found it hard to listen to it in one go, but that is no poor reflection on the band. If anything, it is a compliment. To get the most out of this album it really is one you have to devote time to. It’s not throwaway, not lightweight. I found that I could start it, but that I could not get back into it a while later. Life persists, as the saying goes, but it can be bloody annoying when you really want to listen, enjoy, and fully immerse yourself in something.
Opening track Rain Intro is a short instrumental that goes straight into the title track. It is here that the obvious Beach Boys comparison can be made, and will be made. Listen carefully and you’ll even hear an homage to them.
Tracks such as Watching in the Dark and I Live Here are highlights that should be explored. The former changes tack partway through to become something out of a weird hallucinogenic trip, but without all the bad shit.
If there are two downsides to Violet City Lantern, and feel free to disagree with me here, are – firstly – the instrumentals. As lush-sounding as they are, I’m not entirely sure what they are for. Secondly, just doesn’t feel quite right. All the elements are there, but it just sounds like it’s been squished together and added – just because. It’s discordant, and doesn’t have the same atmosphere.
But of course, there is Long Bridge, which is the track that got me into these guys. It’s a stunning effort with a slightly more languid feel that seems to counterpoint the rest of the album. As a single, it’s superb, as part of the album, it’s even more stunning.
So, worth your money, time and effort to buy and listen to? Most certainly. It’s a great album and, if I may be allowed to spout off one more time, with a teensy bit of editing it could have been even better.
Violet City Lantern by Murals is released on the 19th of February on Fire Talk, and is currently available for pre-order.