Few albums have ever been as colored by tragedy as this debut from Viola Beach. We will never know what the band would have achieved. All we are left with are these songs that form this bright and spirited debut.
The most striking thing, as upbeat opener ‘Swings and Waterslides’ begins, is how full of life the album sounds. It has a youthful exuberance and innocence to it that continues throughout these 9 songs. The song draws obvious comparisons to Coldplay at their most anthemic. It's a ready-made festival anthem that would make you drunkenly hug the closest person to you. Starting the album with the best song is risky. However, there is only the merest dip in consistency in what follows.
‘Go Outside’ has a joyous chorus that begs to be bellowed out with your best friends. Nostalgically titled 'Cherry Vimto' is a longing ballad. It has a refreshing innocence about it; like accidentally switching over to a rerun of an 80's Spielberg classic. Despite the nostalgic themes and song titles, this is a very modern sounding album. There is a definite pop sensibility on show throughout. This is indie for the Snapchat generation.
Lyrically, the album deals with the easily identifiable themes of having a good time (there’s even a song called ‘Drunk’) and... well... girls. You can’t help but think of all of those summers you spent pining over ‘that’ girl or boy. ‘Call you Up’, with its Jeff Buckley-esque guitar line, makes you remember all of those times you went to make that phone call but were too chicken. While ‘Boys That Sing’ is a life-affirming closer that gives you hope that it will all turn out alright in the end.
It's an album that makes you want to fall in love, have a beer, have your heart broken and do it all over again.