Rico – Violent Silences

Album Review by Mark Bayross

It’s been five years since Rico’s debut album SANCTUARY MEDICINES and, although he has been keeping himself busy working with the likes of Gary Numan and Tricky, releasing a few singles and EPs and developing some local artists, the Glaswegian hasn’t really been able to really capitalise on the interest that greeted him when he emerged in ‘99.

Until now, that is. Album opener DAWN RAID’s chorus screams “This is a dawn raid / on the hit parade” and while that may will be a tongue-in-cheek statement of Rico’s maverick intent, there is plenty here that could see him become a very hot property, whether he likes it or not.

VIOLENT SILENCES follows on from its predecessor in many ways – the seamless fusion of beats and guitars, occasional forays into trip-hop, and Rico’s schizophrenic vocal delivery veering from free-flowing street poet to psychotic maniac at the flick of a switch. Again, he litters his songs with references to his surroundings, anchoring them firmly to a sense of grim reality and voicing his disgust at the world (or the city) around him.

In terms of mood, the album veers from the Tricky-enhanced paranoia of RECOMMENDED DOSE and the title track, seemingly tirades at the turn-a-blind eye apathy of society to the injustices all around us, to balls-out rockers like FREEFALL and the ace SHE’S MY PUNK ROCK, which comes on like Mesh on steroids.

Also here is the fantastic chart-bothering Numan collaboration CRAZIER, along with its B-sides BIG BLACK SEA and GARDEN MAN, and a sufficiently mental electro-thrash cover of Talking Heads’ PSYCHO KILLER (soon to be a single).

Impeccably produced and tightly wound, VIOLENT SILENCES grabs you by the scruff of the neck and never lets go. Somehow Rico has found a way of fusing myriad styles (Tricky, late Numan, NIN’s perv-rock classic CLOSER, even big beat and the Sex Pistols – see KICKBACK for further evidence) and making them work together with the sole purpose of rocking your ass off.

6 stars

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