Despite being released on January 1st, Blue Violence.’s Modern Love. already sounds like a soundtrack of a bygone era. It is a primarily filthy industrial rock record that you probably would have heard in a dingy, extra-packed nightclub. It’s filled to the brim with lust and sex with just a pinch of self-loathing. Singer/songwriter Chris Caccamise is a complex character in that we aren’t sure if he wants to fuck you like an animal or hold your hand. It’s a contrast that is somewhat successful. Though it’s nice to know that he isn’t a two-dimensional creep that he initially comes across as, one can’t help but feel he might be an entitled love-sick puppy instead.
Blue Violence.’s debut album is the brainchild of Caccamise and producer Daniel Fischetti. The duo met in Southern California in the early 2000s and honestly, you can kind of tell. Your goodwill towards this album will depend on how much you dig Nine Inch Nails, Fear Factory or Marilyn Manson. Modern Love. distinguishes itself slightly with some modern production flourishes and a stripped-down, confessional acoustic ballad in “Leather Friend” but overall, it is boilerplate 90s/early 2000s industrial rock.
That’s not to say there aren’t any jams to get down and dirty to. Despite how derivative it can sometimes be, a few of the tracks are total bangers. “Modern Love” and “Slick Tricks” are extremely shallow but are important in setting the mood. You can easily picture yourself walking onto the dance floor in slow motion with the utmost swagger. “Eldritch” is easily the best and most memorable because there is a brooding sense of aggression in Caccamise’s vocal delivery. His façade is cracking, and he knows it. He doesn’t sound like Trent Reznor anymore. He’s now more like Mike Muir from Suicidal Tendencies. The music is getting louder, the strobe brighter, and Chris is having a tantrum and yelling “WE CAN HAVE A GOOD TIME.” It’s at this point in the album that we sense that this is music for people with a hole in their heart.
But should we feel sympathy for Caccamise? Maybe it’s because the lyrics are a tad formulaic or his delivery is slightly unconvincing but the “sensitive” songs like “Polaroids & Photographs” and “Pretty Disease” are too mopey and hard to identify with. Though I hope this wasn’t his intention, Caccamise’s sad-sack persona comes off as one of those “nice guys” that get angry at women who won’t sleep with them even though they’re broken or whatever. It’s either that, or he’s trying to dig deeper and hasn’t quite reached far enough. I admire Caccamise’s attempt to insert pathos and sentimentality into an often harsh and blunt genre of music but other than “Leather Friend” he’s probably best bringing himself and his notepad back to the club for the time being.
If you stick to the dance numbers then Blue Violence.’s Modern Love. is well worth letting loose to. Hopefully Blue Violence. can draw from whatever pain produced “Leather Friend” and be more than just that. Until then, I can absolutely hear “Modern Love” and “Eldritch” being blasted in seedier venues as soon as we can dance again, and everyone is in dire need to be touched after being cooped up for so long.
Written by Shawn Thicke
*Edited by Dominic Abate