Review Summary: One good song is better than none
Darling Violetta was a dark wave band formed in 1997. They released 2 EPs and 1 LP between 1997 and 2003, and went on an indefinite hiatus before completing a fourth release. For some, their crowning achievement is composing and recording the theme for the Buffy spin-off series, Angel. That ought to give you an idea of their sound: brooding, introspective, goffik, usually with a formula of quiet verses and explosive rock choruses.
This was their final release and their only LP. The most striking thing about it is that it starts with the only good song (A Smaller God) and then falls off a cliff into boring mediocrity. Instruments are present, but they do not play any noticeable melody or hook, except on A Smaller God. This would be compensated for by a strong vocal melody, which is not present on most of the tracks. The verses on every track are almost exactly the same, and they are of the interval-free variety that is found in the backgrounds of crunchy cafes all around the world.
The choruses are a little better off, but not by much, and some of them are made painful to listen to by vocalist Cami Elen straining to hit notes that she just cannot hit in a controlled and easy-sounding manner. Her voice also breaks noticeably in a few spots. Also, I don't know if it's a result of improper technique or of her being a heavy smoker (which I suspect, but could not confirm), but she gives Matthew Bellamy a run for his money when it comes to loud inhaling.
Of course, technical perfection isn't everything one looks for in a singer, and she does make up for it with personality and emotion. Sometimes imperfections can make a performance more effective, which is definitely true of the one good song on here, "A Smaller God". Most of the complaints I have about this LP either don't apply or are turned into positives on this song. The instrumentalists actually do more than suicidally plunk through a chord progression but still manage to beautifully complement the vocals, Elen's imperfect delivery makes emo poetry sound genuine, and it has at least 90% of the hooks on the entire LP.
It is so effective, in fact, that it was featured in Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines, a cult classic video game loved by all who scorn direct sunlight and bands other than Ministry. You're probably thinking that an album with one good song on it ought to have a lower rating, but I personally can't justify giving the coveted "average" score to anything unless it is truly worthy of neither praise nor scorn.