The band Violent Femmes gcomes back to life with their new album We can Do Everything.  Official album cover
The band Violent Femmes gcomes back to life with their new album “We can Do Everything.” Official album cover

Violent Femmes new record worth the wait

The Violent Femmes released their first record since 2000’s “Freak Magnet,” titled “We Can Do Anything.”

Sixteen years is a long time, even longer when it comes to the music-streaming world.

Now here’s the million-dollar question: Do you ride the nostalgia and play it safe or do you take risks even if you fall short on your comeback outing?

A band like the Violent Femmes soon realizes that it not only has to cater to the old fans but must satisfy new ones.

The band walks that fine line in their new release, avoiding the too much, too soon syndrome and somehow landing in between.

The Femmes’ angst seems untouched even by time, opening with the familiar strut of “Memory,” a track somehow reminiscent of anything on their self-titled release. The song hits the familiar notes and hooks, delivered in the signature Gordon Gano deadpan.

The band seems reinvigorated on “Big Car,” with its innuendo-filled verses and folk rock stomp.

“You’ve been sleeping your whole life, I’m going to wake you up,” sings Gano, the band sounding as fresh as it did on its heyday, almost juvenile.

It’s when they bring it down to those basics that they hit the jackpot.

“What You Really Mean” is a perfect example. It delivers that classic, stripped-down sound without rehashing it. The heart-on-your-sleeve honesty that the band can deliver is inimitable and here it’s well on display.

With “Untrue Love” and “I’m Not Done” the band takes on the role of positive pessimists to end on a high note. There’s no intended resignation or regret but a subtle hint at newly found inspiration, offering a clue for fans that they are indeed back and here to stay. Their work is not done yet.

Not everything succeeds on this record though; tracks like “I Could Be Anything” and “Issues” are not particularly memorable. They are not bad songs in any way but struggle to stand out in comparison with the stronger material on the record.

The Violent Femmes don’t venture too far from their comfort zone but to be fair that’s not a bad thing. During its career, the band did one thing and did it well. If it’s working don’t fix it. Here, the band slowly returns to its roots and proves that the members have plenty of gas in the tank.

“We Can Do Anything” is a fine return for the band and a definite success. Gano seems to have regained his songwriting mojo, striking up a handful of songs that will stand up next to anything in their classic cannon.

Violent Femmes celebrate their return with a U.S tour, stopping in San Diego on May 6 at Humphrey’s.

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Violent Femmes new record worth the wait