There’s always a huge challenge when you’re recording an instrumental album. You don’t have the luxury of using lyrics or vocals to convey yourself. You won’t be able to converse in human language any longer; you’ll only be able to communicate through music. Those who pay attention will undoubtedly hear you, but first you must master your piece and be able to articulate what you have with your instruments. That’s exactly what “Viscula” did in their album IV! From the artwork to the track names to the great music itself, everything speaks to you and floods you with mixed emotions. With only organic parts without any overlays, the award-winning band “Best Indie Artist,” featuring the great Soviet and Russian bassist Alexander Titov, who recorded all the bass parts, gave us a legendary album that unlocked many memories you might have forgotten you had. 

IV starts with a minute-and-a-half soothing intro with a bass solo that tells you to relax and prepare because you’re about to witness incredible stuff! It blew my mind how each track’s title is carefully chosen to correspond to what you’re about to hear. “Seagulls” is the first example of this; the track gives you the vibe that it’s a summer day, and you’re sitting in front of the sea, enjoying the sunrays while seagulls circle above you; the first part of the track felt serious, as if it were the background of a time-travelling trip to that summer memory; the rest of the track felt like you’re sitting on a chair, your feet in the sand, your eyes closed, enjoying the air striking your face, hearing the seagulls along with the sea’s wave sounds, forgetting about the rest of the world. 

Raising the bar with “Heartwell,” as they start off with the most upbeat, energetic drum kicks, as if they’re continuing the time-travelling journey and this time they’re taking you to the first time your heart beats were insanely increasing while you were falling madly in love. It’s the kind of track that lifts your feet off the ground and up into the sky.  Moving on to “Grey,” where I’m at a loss for words! It’s most likely my favorite. It had the feel of a tango song, and I felt like I was watching two dancers sway back and forth. The tunes are pleasant, the instruments are wonderfully harmonised, and the flute definitely stands out to make it even more special. Near the end, the speed picks up, giving the impression that the dance is heating up to reach its finale.

Should I reconsider my stance on having a favorite one? It’s quite difficult to choose just one! “Rhumba” will keep you on the dance floor for a while longer. This time it’s more like a funky dance with bouncy tunes that will push you to dance even if you’re not good at dancing because the groovy guitar and drums rhythms will hypnotically move you. One more reason to make it difficult to pick a favorite: their style is distinctively varied! You can’t confine them to a single kind of music; they can soothe you, make you dance, make you nostalgic, and even make you psychedelic. In “Plague,” I felt that the last couple years of our lives were rushing through my head as we faced the corona virus. It’s incredible how they were able to convey the feelings of being locked, anxious, powerless, and a variety of other emotions with instruments in a 2:19 minute piece.

Like a roller coaster, they keep moving up and down. In “Love Hard,” the melodies go mellower and tell you about a love story that had some conflicts through their music. They nailed speaking through the instruments as they were saying in the slow part that there was love growing between a couple, as things were fine at first, and flamed with love. The tempo sped up to tell you the second part of the tale as the flame burned everything around it and their love was hard to contain. It’s not fair to end such a magnificent album with a tragic love story and melancholy music, so they’re closing with “Bad Decision,” their seventh and last tune, to put you in a pleasant mood one more time with joyous keyboard notes, groovy guitar riffs, and steady drumming. It’s a magical closure to a magical journey.

Close your eyes, play “IV”, and enjoy the adventure!

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Viola Karmy