From the underground scene of Minsk, Belarus, to the vibrant atmosphere of Augsburg, Germany, the journey of The Violent Youth has been as dynamic and varied as the artistic versatility, bold experimentation, and passionate songwriting of its founder, Arthur Tsymbal. With the recent addition of bassist Julian Riegel, this new wave/post-punk project, established in 2017, has garnered acclaim, enriching the music scene with five albums since its inception, with the previous LP, Ostavaites Na Linii, having been released in 2021.
In 2023, The Violent Youth joined the Artoffact Records roster, culminating in the label’s recent release of the band’s latest work, “Na Igle.” While the album represents the fifth entry in The Violent Youth’s discography it is the third to be recorded in Russian. Throughout its 12 songs, the haunting echoes of Eastern acts like KINO, Biokonstruktor, and Tehnologia merge seamlessly with the stylistic nuances of Western icons such as Pet Shop Boys, Depeche Mode, Ultravox, and Alphaville. This fusion crafts a soundscape where the melancholic depths of post-punk and the intricate layers of darkwave intertwine, creating a mesmerizing interplay that is both deep and diverse. Steeped in these contrasting juxtaposition of dark guitars, vibrant synths, and subtle 80s-style dance grooves, the record paradoxically provides an upbeat backdrop to some of life’s more somber themes. This results in a dynamic auditory experience, oscillating between moments of introspective stillness and vibrant energy. It invites listeners to either sway in reflective silence or energetically dance through cathartic perdition.
Opening fierce, the album commences with the icy intensity guitar and synth-driven 20s, a song that reflects on the uncertainty of the future and the challenges faced in the current world. The singer contemplates the new year, struggling against difficulties and societal fears. The 2020s are, as we all well know, a period of turmoil and questioning, with a gritty atmosphere and a sense of perseverance. Poslednii Dens describes a moment of intimacy and connection in the face of impending doom as two people find solace in each other’s company, dancing in the moonlight with a glass of wine. It’s a last dance, a final moment together as the world teeters on the brink of destruction. The lyrics convey a sense of urgency and the desire to make the most of their time before an uncertain fate.
Painting a bleak picture of a world in chaos, the following track, Prah (which features a captivating 180-degree VR Video,) seeks solace amid the turmoil. Tears cascade from the sky like bullets as despair takes hold. Yet, amidst the grim circumstances, a yearning for love and connection emerges, a desire to erase the violence. It’s a profound testament to the resilience of the human spirit in the face of destruction.
Transitioning to Serdtse, the mood shifts to one of detachment and disillusionment. The metaphor of an empty fridge symbolizes a void, conveying a chilling indifference and serving as a reflection on the fleeting nature of love and the inevitability of loss.
The intricate Nenavizhu – lyublyu delves into the complexities of a love-hate relationship. It portrays a profound conflict, a desire to hold onto the person while simultaneously not needing their presence. There’s an undercurrent of longing and desperation, as if the song’s protagonist’s only chance to see them might be at their own funeral.
Ya Ne Hochu explores feelings of fear, disappointment, and weariness in the face of a world that promises prosperity, but often delivers pain and bruises. The singer longs for protection but feels disconnected from the world, as if emotions have become numb and life has lost its color and warmth. The title song, Na Igle, spirals into a directionless descent into a metaphorical hell. The imagery evokes a sense of pain, numbness, and a world engulfed in darkness. It conveys a feeling of submission and servitude, with the promise of becoming a hero through obedience, but at the cost of losing oneself.
The theme of dissociation takes center stage in Eto Li Lubov? (feat. Stereopolina). It delves into an intense connection that seems to siphon the singer’s vitality and emotions. The lyrics paint a portrait of love that both wounds and confounds, leaving the singer to question if it’s a genuine affection or a treacherous path to the edge. Amidst this, there’s an undercurrent of yearning for this enigmatic figure, even if it’s just a brief encounter, yet ultimately, it remains a mirage from the pages of a book. Paris tells of a person who writes poetry, captures moments on camera, and cherishes scents and lipstick. Their life involves constant travel, from high-flying airplanes to various time zones, especially between Paris and Munich. They express a longing for someone who remains distant, regardless of location.
In Nikto, a woman who weeps in the evening, concealed behind closed windows, becomes a haunting presence. Her tears obscure the laughter over the phone, while an inner tempest rages unchecked, with no one penning words or awaiting her. Her allure and melodious voice enchant, yet her pallid hair foretells a looming tragedy. Her eyes, an ocean; her heart, ice; her thoughts, a tumultuous storm, all go unnoticed, leaving her unanticipated and alone. Nebo delves into a world where names are forgotten, distinctions between friend and foe blur, and honor is absent. The singer seeks to dissolve into the distant sky, leaving no trace behind. It’s a farewell, a closure marked by silence, where forgiveness replaces clenched fists.
Finally, Odinochestvo speaks of escape beyond the speed of light, revealing what’s already gone, and confessing lies. It anticipates betrayal and offers a resurrection with passionate kisses. The lyrics confront a world of smoke-filled eyes and rare tears, where even the devil grows weary. It’s a tale of unfulfilled dreams, loneliness, and the inevitable.
“It’s a very exciting moment for us,” gushes Arthur Tsymbal. “I have been working on “Na Igle” for almost two years, and met lots of cool and interesting people, including Julian who has been playing bass in TVY since 2022. Lots of things have changed. We became a duo, recorded “Na Igle” in Augsburg, mixed in Hamburg, had lots of happy and difficult moments and now – it is out, it lives! We are very proud of this album and looking forward to playing it live.”
Listen to Na Igle below:
The Violent Youth’s fourth album, Ostavaites Na Linii (Hold The Line), saw its release in the fall of 2021. It continued to sculpt the dark, signature sound that the band is renowned for, interlaced with moderate elements of 80s synthpop. This time around, for their fifth LP, they decided to weave in some more experimental elements to some of the danceable vibes, all while maintaining that heart-touching vulnerability that fans have come to cherish. The result seamlessly blends chaos and harmony together in a soundtrack that embodies the immense complexities and paradoxes inherent in the human experience.
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