Album Review: “We Can Do Anything” by Violent Femmes

Rating: 3.0/5.0
Release Date: Mar. 5

Damn Violent Femmes, back at it again with those uncanny lyrics. If you have not heard of Violent Femmes, you must have at least heard of their ludicrous ‘80s single “Blister in the Sun.” Fusing punk with folk and a mixture of youthful lyrics, the track easily represents the band’s raw and silly sound. Years later, in the midst of rock band reunions like that of Fleetwood Mac, Violent Femmes came together in hopes of remastering that sound and awakening their musical journey with their latest release “We Can Do Anything.”

After a hiatus of 16 years, Violent Femmes relies on the nostalgia feeling brought by reunions to successfully bring back their sound to a new decade. They do prove one thing in their album: They still hold that same passion for making music with an animated attitude. Despite their differences, bandmates Gordon Gano and Brian Ritchie collaborate to provide listeners with original, entertaining recordings after a long period consisting of nothing but greatest-hits albums. Album opener, “Memory,” is one of the few imposing melodies, with guitar riffs that contain the same lively attitude fans will recognize and love. “Holy Ghost” is the album’s acoustic number with volatile vocals reminiscent of their hit “Kiss Off.” Album closer “I’m Not Done” delivers a farewell with a western feel.

The album tracklist is somewhat consistent, with quirky lyrics of fighting fire-breathing dragons mixed with witty vocals, but also contains aimless themes of going to work and travelling. Needless to say, the inclusion of the guitar and banjo in most tracks is catchy and succeeds in capturing the essence of the rustic character inherent in previous albums. Other aspects don’t represent the true adolescent nature of the band, with lyrics “After work I just go berzerkers” or “Come on in my car I got a big one” being too plain and corny for an album just meant to be a back to the basics movement. While some tracks capture their old soft punk tunes and signature acoustic guitar strumming, unfamiliar tracks like “Foothills” and “Issues” fail to deliver the same nostalgic feeling. Their new, country-like vibes and uneven harmonies may not fit well with Violent Femmes’ old easy going style, but succeed in delivering a carefree vibe that both parents and the new generations can enjoy.

Whether you loved the Violent Femmes in the ‘80s or just got introduced to them, “We Can Do Anything” is a representation of a band slowly climbing their way back into the music industry. The album’s wacky themes and amateurish sound combine to create a solid revival that captures their enduring youthful personas.