LaRissa Vienna And The Strange
Coming from a background of experimental dark pop, LaRissa Vienna and the Strange prove the power of collaboration with the release of their first full-length album as a band, Neptune VII. Having previously published the EP, Make the Pain Pretty, Neptune VII furthers the band’s evolution into a more violin-driven spooky rock. Who knew that Denver had a rock scene? It would be worth the trip to see this band live – if they have half the energy of this album, they’d be stellar on stage. These are extremely well-crafted songs, a few of which would almost be poppish if not for the eerie vibe and thick shadowy guitar.
This album opens with “Same Devil, Different Ways” – a deep, chugging, thoughtful tune with perfectly balanced guitar work. Soaring violin locks in the moody atmosphere. “Like a Child” then continues as an earnest emotional exploration, with strange twists, and haunting background vocals. As a relatively young artist, Vienna’s lyrics feel auto-biographical as she connects her music to her youth.
The track “California Man” follows by presenting a dance between guitar and violin, with lyrics searching the soul. “You are a ghost that is slipping through my hands.” Dazzling dynamics captivate throughout. “Craving Chaos” is steeped in goth inspired melancholy. With lyrics like “We ache to feel alive though we’ve seen too much.”, this should be the anthem for black-clad 17-year-olds and rainy days.
The powerful “Haunted” propels the listener into a head bobbing, guitar chugging landscape with diverse vocal styles from grungy flat to sweet precious melody. This standout track also highlights the simply exquisite lyrics. “I’m cursed and I’m haunted, I follow everything that shines.” “The Chemistry” unfortunately had a little less chemistry and energy than the other songs on the album, although it picks up near the end.
The album concludes with Limes and Surrender, which are both sonically grandiose, and finish this journey in a thoughtful denouement. There are subtle little drum details that create a wonderful urgency and energy. This album proves that there is nothing more alluring than people radiating love for what they do, and it is absolutely tangible in this recording.
The production of Neptune VII is impeccable. LaRissa’s vocals are powerful and varied throughout, and at the perfect level – you can make out the words clearly over the wall of rock behind. The abundant guitar and dark melodies are then reminiscent of other unusual favourites such as HIM, Sisters of Mercy, and The Pretty Reckless. Let’s just say that if you’re looking to feel empowered, get ready to love this album in all its dark rock glory.
SPILL ALBUM REVIEW: LARISSA VIENNA AND THE STRANGE – NEPTUNE VII