Passion is the underlying quality of truly successful artists. Without a passion for every aspect of their music, it can be difficult for listeners to really immerse themselves in a band’s sound. Conviction, as we all know, is utterly infectious.

It seems alt-rockers The Virginmarys know this. Their latest studio offering, Divides, is a fourty-minute exercise in fierce passion and fiery deliveries. This may not initially sound like much – after all, most alternative bands pride themselves on their passion. But there is often a confusion between genuine dedication to a sentiment and just turning things up to 11.

Take ‘I Wanna Take You Home’ as a shining example. The core guitar riff, which has a similar feel to Seether’s ‘Remedy’, oozes with urgency and swagger, which complements the mildly self-assured vocals. But then the post-chorus happens, delivering a vocal that feels like a sweet release of angst and frustration. It is an outburst of passionate emotion – the album’s calling card.

That is where the greatness of the album comes from. Each track is passionate and well-formed; tight and ferocious music that keeps the battlecry vocals from collapsing into a pit of passion. Tracks like ‘Push The Pedal’ are restricted and self-contained with tense vocals that feel delivered through gritted teeth, while the sheer velocity of ‘Into Dust’ makes for an all-out anthem that rings of Pure Love as the vocals reach a new level of emotion and relying on the instrumentation to drive the final seconds home.

The Virginmarys are the indie fanatics alternative outfit; artists that understand the need for both tender emotion and fiercely intense soundscapes. Merging the two could have had disasterous results but Divides shows that not only is this possible, it’s phenomenal.

4/5

By Tom Roden

Prolific writer, full-time insomniac and caffeine-blooded workaholic. Music deputy editor and quality control officer for VultureHound.