The Virginmarys - King of Conflict (Review)
Review by Jack Foley
THE Virginmarys have delivered a rabble-rousing debut album in the aptly-named King of Conflict, a kick-ass 12-song collection designed to get them noticed.
Embracing the hedonistic, hard-partying, heavy riff-making ethos of bands such as Jet, this debut offering exists to play things loud and in a no-holds barred fashion. That it manages to grip for the most part is testament to its success.
Admittedly, the album threatens to become excessive in places, such is its devotion to rocking your socks off. But even though there are some fillers, the hits more than compensate for any shortcomings.
Dead Man’s Shoes, a former single, sets things in motion with a pedal to the metal hard-rocker that combines a piledriving central riff, some shouty, gritty vocals from Ally Dickaty and a gutsy, chant-along chorus.
According to bassist Matt Rose, the song ‘encompasses exactly what The Virginmarys are about… it’s the ultimate Virginmary’s tune’, concerned with self-delusion. And it sets things up well.
Portrait of Red engages and Just A Ride is a belting break-up anthem but Out of Mind delivers the first moment of genuine class. An old school rocker in many senses, this has a classic Stones like swagger vocally, delivering an incendiary chorus that declares: “Everybody’s out of their fucking mind.”
Bang Bang Bang then has a bluesy refrain as a forlorn sounding Dickaty asks a girl to “take that gun, girl, and blow my mind”. It’s a gutsy, slower burner of a track and benefits from the mix of grit and restraint.
Lost Weekend has a rousing chorus to match its hedonistic tendencies (in classic Jet fashion, albeit with a thrillingly intense growl from Dickaty), while the mix of bass and guitar riffs on the raw and ready Running For My Life also thrills (we love the angst inherent in lines like “and nothing seems to cover up the scars”).
Evidence of some diversity is found in the more Brit-pop leaning Dressed To Kill, which is genuinely radio-friendly, while there’s a return to the rhythm and blues for the playful My Little Girl.
But the next attention grabber is the epic You’ve Got Your Money, I’ve Got My Soul, which opens in brooding fashion before exploding to life during the gutsy, defiant chorus.
The final highlight, however, belongs to album closer Ends Don’t Mend, which again opens in brooding fashion before delivering its tale of heartbreak in gutsy, utterly compelling fashion with yet more desperation soaked lyrics.
It’s a fittingly kick-ass end to an album that exists to deliver some telling musical blows. And it’s a great debut from yet another Manchester outfit to keep an eye on.
Download picks: Out of Mind, Bang Bang Bang, Lost Weekend, Running For My Life, Dressed To Kill, Ends Don’t Mend