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Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Violet Tremors - Sci-Fine!

The VIOLET TREMORS leave a place in the middle of the bed for you!

They characterize their milieu as "minimal-synth". Aesthetically, that may be true. But Lorene Simpson and Jessica White, with their ambitious songs and stylish performance, Sci-Fi fly in the face of simplicity or mathematics. The girls appear childlike in their Futurist-Victorian schoolgirl garb, but their comparisons span the grownup range of 80's middle-brow pop, the likes of Adam Ant and Lene Lovich to the art music of Laurie Anderson or sexy-messy rock chops of P.J. Harvey. At the El Rey Theater at the close of their first US tour, they opened the show for Ogre (purveying his OHGR project).

OHGR is as Ogre does.

On paper, the Violet Tremors seem an unseemly fit with the grandaddy of industrial rock. But within two songs of the Tremors' set, the audience excavated a context and welcomed the lithesome duo. In performance, the Violet Tremors forge an integral relationship to monster-man, Ogre. Just as the girls seemed infected by the conjuring trance their headliner has honed over decades, Ogre himself seemed to be having a better time than ever, playing and interacting - perhaps attributable to the infectious playfulness of the Tremors? This spirit was not lost on the audience who found footing in the uncharacteristic whimsy. But if the Tremors installed a patina of good nature on the show, it served to remind the crowd that Ogre has always been a serious artist who doesn't take himself as seriously as he may take his multiple personas.

Jessica and Lorene welcome you to the machine.

As the front gal of the Violet Tremors, Jessica White is a sultry and sexy dragon lady, dancing on a bubble of wry humor. She bleated ethereal lyrics in a voice that did its best monotone but intermittently betrayed melodic sensibility. I liken it to Chris Cornell's rock-shriek which does little to disguise that beneath his choice of style is the voice of an angel. But the Tremors' vision and voice are clearly, carefully contrived. As is the group's persona. As Jessica teases the audience with mixed messages of jaded dismissiveness and desperate pleas for attention, Lorene skirts the shadows, intent to concentrate on keyboard and effects, practically hidden under pitch-black bangs. She occasionally comes up for air to smile at an inside joke a fan may have telegraphed from the floor.


The threat of pretty-girl pretense gives way to robo-clownery as Jessica morphs from sassy siren to funky chicken. Again, Lorene cracks up. This is what separates the potentially drab from the devilishly delightful in this rhythmic, sometimes hypnotic band. The Violet Tremors were on tour in support of their debut CD (on LP for you vinyl-heads): Time Is The Traitor. This first release is a fairly accurate representation of what the Violet Tremors sound like. But it only scratches the suggestive surface of who the girls are in performance. I'll be following this group interested to see where they plant their flower seeds and how their tremulous vibrations resonate at the core of the scene.

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