Electric President has returned with its third album and it’s a pretty solid piece of work. On a new label, Fake Four Inc., the indie group comprises two natives of Jacksonville, Flo., Alex Kane and Ben Cooper, these guys are ready to put themselves on the map. The Violent Blue is a cool, calm, intriguing mix of electronic instruments with a dash of folk rock.
The great part about this is that the record has many unique elements. The not-so-great part is that familiarity can also fade into the background. An example is the opening track “The Ocean Floor.” It’s a dreamy, wavy song with a lonely piano tinkering in the background. Almost like the sound machines that play ambient sound to lull insomniacs to sleep, sounds like whales calling pervade the song, painting a perfect picture of the sea. But, not unlike the ambient sound machines, it has a tendency to slip out of focus, not for lack of creativity, but maybe just because it’s that calming and familiar sounding.
The remainder of the record brings the same sense of uniqueness all the while soothing with a sense of ease. It is hard to focus on the lyrics. In every song songs they tend to melt, as if they are part of the music. The vocals maintain a floaty, high, echoy sort of sound, like a being higher than yourself is speaking to you, but you’re lost in majesty of the experience. In “Feathers,” the folky sound combined with a distinct rhythm of the tambourine, drums, synthesizers and guitars envelops the vocals. The same situation is in “Eat Shit and Die;” even with a title like that, it’s still hard to divert focus from the most rock-like rhythm of the music to the lyrics.
But overall, the music tends to stand out on its own, utilizing the juxtaposition of uniqueness and familiarity. Most tracks seem to go through a change, either featuring an, almost regal, burst of sound that grows in the song. Another signature is the layering of sound, beginning with a few simple layers then laying it on really thick with different instruments and sounds, giving the song a very full and rounded feeling.
An excellent example is “Nightmares no. 5 or 6.” Pushing the six-minute mark, this track starts with a strange drum line/army marching kind of rhythm, breaking into a pop/rock kind of guitar rhythm. Then the song breaks down to a single guitar with a toy-winding/building-with-tinker-toys sound effect. It then grows into a larger, fuller sound complete with electric guitar, ending with a lot of screeching instruments and feedback.
The coolest thing about The Violent Blue that Electric President seems to have a formula its follows, featuring the same or similar aspects in each track but doing it differently whether it’s with a different rhythm or instrument. It gives a sense of unity and cohesiveness to the record so that each track flows effortlessly. But, if you listen to it closely, there’s a lot of unique and interesting work. Great job, Electric President. This is a solid album that does something new and does it well.