All of Violent Soho’s songs ranked from worst to best
JODY MACGREGOR digs deep and ranks every single Violent Soho song officially released.
The pleasures of listening to Violent Soho are so obvious it’s barely necessary to explain them. It’s all about big choruses built for half-cut voices, a fusion of balls-to-the-wall grunge and pop-punk that’s guaranteed to turn the mosh pit into a frothing mess of limbs and flying beer. Also, they are real loud.
Though there’s been change from We Don’t Belong Here to WACO it’s never been drastic, and lining up all of their discography side by side it’s the little differences that stand out.
45. ‘Paper Plane’
It’s a slow, sad song with strings that’s way outside Violent Soho’s regular area of expertise. But let’s put this in context: ‘Paper Plane’ is a bonus track from the Australian edition of their self-titled album. It’s the definition of throwaway.
44. ‘Eat Your Parents’
Here’s the second bonus track from the self-titled album. It’s not too bad, but it does feels a bit unfinished.
43. ‘Narrow Ways’
Words like “mid-tempo” and “1980s” don’t describe Violent Soho very often, or at their best.
40. ‘My Pal’
It’s a faithful rendition of the classic God song, but that’s really all it is. Stick with the original.
37. ‘Here Be Dragons’
Violent Soho have a bunch of Vines-y songs, especially on their early albums, and ‘Here Be Dragons’ is the most Vines-y of the lot. That’s not necessarily a bad thing – they share the obvious influences, of course the Venn Diagram has some overlap – but ‘Here Be Dragons’ makes its unstoppable teenage riot sound like a bad thing, which doesn’t entirely work with that vibe.
36. ‘Love Is A Heavy Word’
Singer Luke Boerdam once said, “This is about shallow people that suck”, and that’s a good summary of a lot of Violent Soho songs.
35. ‘One On’
34. ‘OK Cathedral’
33. ‘Slippery Tongue’
32. ‘Slow Wave’
31. ‘Birth Of The Teen-Age’
It’s half a Dandy Warhols song and half a Pixies song, with a nicely shuffling drumbeat. Drags on a bit, though.
30. ‘Scrape It’
29. ‘Black City’
This track from the Pigs And TV EP is an atypical Violent Soho song. More garage than we’re used to, a bit more hi-hat in the drums and a bit more drawl in the chorus. An alternate Violent Soho leaking through from a nearby dimension.
28. ‘Dumb Machine’
27. ‘In The Aisle’
26. ‘Neighbour Neighbour’
When Boerdam started yelling less and singing more it reduced the Kurt Cobain in his vocals and brought out the Tom DeLonge instead. The rest of the band played along, and ‘Neighbour Neighbour’ turned out one of their most pop-punk songs. It even has a tiny Weezer guitar bit in it.
24. ‘Fur Eyes’
Violent Soho have a few songs that are saved by their knack for a killer chorus and ‘Fur Eyes’ is one of them.
22. ‘Gold Coast’
20. ‘Holy Cave’
For a band who eschew a lot of frills and fanciness Violent Soho do like to throw the occasional vocal effect in and ‘Holy Cave’ has one of the best uses of those. It also feels a bit like it’s harking back to those 1990s Oz rock bands like Ammonia who used to fill triple j with our local flavour of “alt rock” back when people still called it that.
19. ‘Muscle Junkie’
“Fuck you, fuck you/I hate your face” is the ultimate Violent Soho lyric, placing them somewhere far beyond parody.
18. ‘Hungry Ghost’
The final track on the album it’s named for, ‘Hungry Ghost’ uses its spot to do something a bit different. It’s not the only time Violent Soho have gone slower and a bit more downbeat, but ‘Hungry Ghost’ is a kind of floaty nihilism that sounds like a Bends-era Radiohead song, and that is something it’s worth hearing Violent Soho do.
Basically everything I just said about ‘Hungry Ghost’ only with WACO, and more so.
That bit about driving down Cleveland Road is a preview of the nature of ‘Liars’, which is a perfect driving song – especially when it hits the moment, two-and-a-half minutes in, where every instruments syncs together in a perfect moment of propulsion.
15. ‘No Shade’
‘No Shade’ has the best bassline in a Violent Soho song. It’s almost Kim Deal.
The guitar intro to ‘Revolutionary’ is one of the most Nirvana things Violent Soho have ever written. Then it goes full-bore snotbrat, and that turns it into one of the Pigs & TV EP’s highlights.
13. ‘So Sentimental’
Yeah, it is sentimental – especially by Violent Soho standards – but it’s sentimental in the best possible way, with a great build across its four minutes that’s pregnant with yearning.
12. ‘Son Of Sam’
Setting a new world record for layered guitars.
I’ve joked that Violent Soho don’t really do the quiet/loud grunge thing but instead tend to specialise in loud/louder. But with ‘WACO’ they absolutely pull it off with a kick-drum in the quiet bits that’s there to hint at the loudness that’s about to return like approaching thunder.