The Return of Victim

The return of any established band after a hiatus is always something of an event, usually loaded with expectation – not just from the press but in the heads of certain listeners. Which is the case with me concerning the news of new material from Victim.

I know I say this a lot, but I’ve never understood why Victim weren’t bigger in the punk era, being responsible for a string of deliciously melodic gems such as “The Teen Age”, “Why are Fire Engines Red?” and the alternative classic “Strange Thing By Night.” Perhaps the answer is merely one of integrity and the spirit of independence, which is not always conducive to commercial success, but certainly conducive to producing interesting music, something which Victim have proved with their comeback record “In Your Grave”, a dark gothic pop song which reinforces all their ideals –recorded by Joe Moody and Wes Graham in a home studio, featuring an accompanying video made on a modest budget of, er, nothing, and being released on Soundcloud (as more new material will be.)
Victim’s earlier releases came out on the excellent independent label Good Vibrations ( responsible for a raft of similarly pop-infused, melodic punk bands), and now they are reconstructing and updating the twin ideas of democracy and DIY and for the digital age, in a way we can only hope will bring the wider audience they have always deserved.

It helps that “In Your Grave” is everything I would have hoped from Victims’s comeback record.

Its brave but decidedly more commendable for bands to have some evolution in their sound upon a comeback and Victim have certainly done that, exploring some new territory rather than just keep making carbon copies of “Strange Thing By Night” like a less confident band might. The result is impressive. Far more epic in scope than anything they have previously released, rolling in at over seven minutes, the biggest evolution is perhaps in the vocals. Moody’s voice has developed a mannered, moody-by-name, moody-by-nature in which each word is highly enunciated, which in any vocalist has always given the effect of someone who is applying some consideration what they are writing and singing. The “gothic” aspect is a central part of the sound as well, with its almost foreboding opening bars giving way to those vocals – but that’s not to say that Victim have lost the pop sensibility that made them special in the first place. Lest we forget, the early wave of gothic was actually a lot of fun and was even termed “positive punk” by the press – generalisations from some people about “miserable goth” are actually hugely misguided, and “In Your Grave” is a great celebration of the concept of gothic pop.

A great taster – looking forward to the album…

Amy Britton