BY CONNOR HACHEY
Hailing all the way from Northern England, The Virginmarys’ first studio album King of Conflict has made the jump across the pond to the United States and is poised to make waves. The Virginmarys’ introduction to the music scene was done with a solid piece of work; I hope and anticipate stateside listeners will mirror the excitement generated by The Virginmarys overseas.
By kicking off King of Conflict with the explosive “Dead Man’s Shoes,” we are exposed to the rebel, rock ‘n’ roll spirit of the band and immediately made aware of why we’re listening to them in the first place. It’s a great introduction and cleanly segues the listener throughout the rest of the track list, while also foreshadowing what’s to come. “Portrait of Red” and “Bang Bang Bang” follow suit by serving high energy, power, and pure concentrated angst.
Rarely do I encounter an album that allows me to sit down, relax, and just listen from beginning to end. Usually there’ll be one or two songs that foil the flow of the record and dampen my initial excitement. However, every single song on King of Conflict delivers and displays a different dimension of The Virginmarys aesthetic. In my opinion, the runaway stand out is “Just a Ride.” Sonically, lyrically and emotionally, the song is just simply amazing and one that I believe The Virginmarys will long be remembered for.
Included on King of Conflict are three stripped down, bonus acoustic recordings of “Bang Bang Bang,” “Just a Ride,” and “Lost Weekend.” I’m delighted with their inclusion because it shows the raw talent at the bands disposal and gives the listener the opportunity to focus on their exceptional lyricism.
King of Conflict establishes a unique sound for The Virginmarys that differentiates the band from their contemporaries. The album’s songs are reminiscent of The Arctic Monkeys’ punk-pop flair but infuse a stylized rock edge more similar to The Libertines. Regardless, The Virginmarys seem to know what they want, what they’re doing, and where they want to go. There’s no gimmicks or stunts. Instead of translating as a try hard troupe with something to prove, The Virginmarys come across as effortless while demanding that we listen.