The first LP from Oakland’s premiere indie alt-rockers is a showcase for Keren Gaiser and her formidable pipes. Gaiser once aspired to the Celine Dion realm until her husband wisely convinced her to audition for the Passive Aggressives, a hard-rocking power trio. The partnership revealed her true talent, as she morphed into a legitimate rock goddess.
“Violeta” is a tour de force, with Gaiser’s vocals starting soft over acoustic guitars and rising to a memorable crescendo when the band kicks in on the electrifying outro. The title track is another highlight, a dynamic mid-tempo rocker that grabs the ear and won’t let go. Bassist Damian Lynch packs a Claypool-esque wallop throughout the album, guitarist Jose Santiago stomps his wah-wah pedal with ferocity, and drummer Tim Dayner pounds with a focused abandon. The production isn’t always as crisp as it could be, and some of the male backing vocals fall a bit short, but the tunes are mostly strong and Gaiser is a supernova in waiting.