I previously reviewed The Wine, the Women and the Bomb’s first, self-titled release, calling it a refreshing dose of vintage basement goth. Virus, the Pittsburghian band’s second release, while definitely being more of the same in tone and atmosphere, is no less captivating or refreshing for its consistency.
Virus, like The Wine, the Women and the Bomb before it, is comprised of five phantasmally atmospheric tracks. Instrumentally this release has a quaint similarity to the 1960’s-rock-inspired sound found scattered through the discographies of Type O Negative and Nirvana, more so here than in the former release. The band’s maturation shows on Virus, adding new subtleties to an ever-honed product. There is a hint of the dreamy to The Wine, the Women and the Bomb’s singular style of alternative music. Each of Virus‘ five tracks comes threaded with an aspect that wanders seamlessly from soporific lullaby to darksome nightmare and back again. At only five tracks, as before, the comparatively short album is not hindered by its brevity, but offers an adventurous experience to the listener.
Opening with the titular “Virus”, the band’s dreamy brand is instantly discernible. In the nostalgic strumming of the guitar and the drum’s gentle undercurrent, the 60’s-inspired sound is hard to miss. It only serves to enhance The Wine, the Women and the Bomb’s sound, though. Their subtly ominous tone is richened with tinges of antiquity, especially on this first track, a song fittingly speaking out on the horrors of too much technological advancement. When vocalist Ferval Drucks (aka Jamie Harvey) sings the line “oh, the wires have gone bad,” everything comes together in chilling foreboding.
“Shotgun” follows with the melodic catchiness of “Say What You Mean” and “Timebombs” from the band’s prior release. A more apparent inclusion of synths on this track makes for something ambient yet no less intense, with Drucks’ Robert Smith-like wailing capturing the band’s dualistic potential very well.
The third track, “Scratch My Eyes Out”, is quite possibly the heaviest song to come from The Wine, the Women and the Bomb, as the title could suggest. Everything is kicked up here, with crunchy guitar weaving a beat impossible not to headbang to, and Drucks’ paradoxal, dulcet howling lending the song that tenebrosity the band thrive peerlessly within. “If I don’t believe, will I get to see her?” These last lines encapsulate a tone deliciously tormented.
“I Want to Watch” is a song just as creepy as its title promises. This, the fourth track, begins low and brooding and builds to a powerful chorus, and all the while there is Drucks’ singing, hitting the ear with a strange balance of passion and disturbance.
Virus wraps up with the lullabic beauty of “The Lowdown,” a song oddly reminiscent of White Pony-era Deftones (“(Change) In the House of Flies” particularly). Whether this influence was intentional or just coincidental, the final product is captivating. The delicate melody and velvety bass, the restrained and almost pleading tone of the singing…the song is a perfect way to end the album. It feels like drifting off, and for a band as somnolent as The Wine, the Women and the Bomb, you can’t ask for a better ending.
The Wine, the Women and the Bomb has two albums out and can be found at http://winewomenbomb.bandcamp.com. Vocalist Jamie Harvey also has solo material in the works, which can be found at http://www.reverbnation.com/jamieharvey.