Review Summary: Electric President continue to evolve, with very good results.
There’s a strange satisfaction I get from watching a band move from point A to point B. Like watching a child grow up in front of my eyes, Electric President have gone from the bedroom pop of their debut, stumbled slightly with the fleshed out but progressive sound of Sleep Well, and finally, as they stand before me today, The Violent Blue presents them at their highest level yet; smart, intimate, electronic pop that they’ve always had it in them to make. The tears just well up in my eyes.
Though often held in the same vein as The Postal Service for their brand of pop-fueled bleeps and bloops, The Violent Blue also does well to take a step away from that somewhat lazy comparison. There’s a much more obvious shoegaze influence (popgaze, if you will) on the compositional quality of songs here, especially that of the beautiful title-track or closer “All The Distant Ships”. Like Sleep Well hinted at, where previously they remained more minimalist and raw, The Violent Blue is a much denser sound from the band and one that allows songs to become much deeper than anything they’ve released before. This creates space for nuances and textures to be integrated, of which the somewhat surface-level aesthetic of glitch-electronica never really allowed. Though songs like "Insomnia", from their self-titled, flourished under those restrictions, it feels like this is where Electric President have aspired to be.
As a result, it’s Electric President’s first really consistently great record – an obstacle that their previous efforts failed to hurdle. Where standout tracks were the majority of quality on their previous efforts, The Violent Blue is a much more cohesive affair. “Safe and Sound” is notable for its use of organic instruments, with big drums, acoustic strumming, and handclaps under Ben Cooper’s comforting upper-register croon (very similar to John K. Samson of the Weakerthans) but where a song this good may have been an overshadowing stand out on their self-titled, it fits in unassumingly here. As a whole, The Violent Blue’s intimate (albeit distant) appeal proves charming enough to keep it interesting all the way through, and that’s a first for the duo.
If this upwards trend continues and Alex Kane and Ben Cooper continue to push their sound a little bit further each time, Electric President is going to blossom very nicely. Needless to say, I’m going to be there like a doting mother, proud as can be.