Upon hearing a record as full of passion, aggression, and pure skill as Divides, the news that it is just the second album released by a fairly young band seems almost inconceivable. But then The Virginmarys are a pretty inconceivable talent. A three-piece rock (and punk, and grunge, and Britpop) band from Macclesfield UK, they released their debut album King Of Conflict in 2013. And newest album Divides has the same full-throated, angst-ridden urgency that led to the appraisal of their first album – except this time, the band have evolved, pushing their sound even further and wringing every ounce of devotion into a record that front man Ally Dickaty says is about “the divides among people, freedom and power, injustice, inequality and corruption.”
Into Dust was the first single the band premiered off the album, and it begins with Ally’s Alex Turner-sounding (though maybe just because of the accent), “I wanna say I’m tired but I’m fucking bored/I need to get myself away”. These lyrics of disillusionment are paired with an urgent lead guitar riff and aggressive drum pattern that is equal parts sinister and inviting. And this is a theme that follows this record throughout. Love call-to-arms For You My Love has a classic rock feel, with a delectable chugging guitar riff that carries you through alongside Dickaty’s Brian Johnson-inspired vocals. Contrasting this though, Moths To A Flame is a dark, angst-ridden rock ballad, dealing with themes of mental health and addiction against sparse, yet emotionally powerful instrumentation.
A definite album highlight, Halo In Her Silhouette is led by a jagged guitar riff and masses of punk-rock attitude with a demanding chorus and stand out metaphoric gems such as “she’s my anarchy”. Another defining song without doubt is I Wanna Take You Home, a passion-fuelled tune full of energy, accusation and adoration. What The Virginmarys do best on Divides, is they explore not only a multitude of sounds, but also a multitude of themes. Half politically charged, half emotionally charged; this album manages to combine these themes in a way that feels authentic and exciting, grabbing listeners by the eardrums and demanding their attention.