Various Cruelties - Various Cruelties

Various Cruelties - Various Cruelties
Album Reviews

A well-rounded effort; the band clearly has a knack for melodies and angst-ridden confessions.



Label: Mercury
Released: 30th April 2012
Reviewer: Linda Aust
Various Cruelties first came to prominence with a Bandcamp profile that really didn’t give too much away. With only three songs, no photos and a musical tag that simply stated ‘alt soul’ they quickly gathered followers who devour the band's distinctive Brit-soul vibe and impassioned lyrics. Nearly one year after the creation of their first modest online profile, Various Cruelties now release their self-titled debut album through Mercury Records.

Opener ‘Chemicals’ gives a perfect toe-tapping indication of what the band is capable of – superbly soulful songs with sing-along choruses. It might sound like a simple formula but Various Cruelties spice up their little indie-pop songs with a healthy dose introspection and melancholia. The haunting tender sentiment of ‘She Is The One’ contrasts beautifully with the shoe-gaze slumber-pop of ‘Capsize’ undoubtedly showcasing that musicality and not genre unifies this band. Mod-goth main man Liam O’Donnell is gifted with a unique voice that effortlessly carries ‘If It Wasn’t For You’, a heart-wrenching paean that comes to life through modest instrumentation and monumental lyrics. ‘Magnetic Field’ sounds like Coldplay, but in a less irritating and more poignantly Northern way. Clearly going through the motions of betrayed trust and relationships, next song ‘Cold As Ice’ is a lamentation of love lost and hearts broken. Lead-singer Liam is either a highly sensitive soul or a wild-child, but either way let’s hope he gets his heart broken many more times if it gives us songs as bold and beautiful as ‘Great Unknown’.

Though lyrically often on the lighter side of the poetical spectrum (“Singing la la la la, I want it again” on ‘Beautiful Delirium’), melodically Liam & Co are true heavyweights. This eponymous debut is a well-rounded effort for a band that clearly has a knack for stadium-filling melodies and angst-ridden confessions. Anthemic in most parts and enjoyable in all, Various Cruelties deliver a debut that’s moving and memorable.
Rating: 7/10
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