'The End Of Part One'
Northern Electric

REVIEWS

THE TORONTO STAR

1/2 (out of 4)
VIOLET ARCHERS
The End of Part One (Northern Electric/Universal)

Though Rheostatics singer and bassist Tim Vesely and his new band launch their debut CD tonight at The Horseshoe, it would be a mistake to assume that the Violet Archers — Vesely on guitars and keyboards, pianist Ida Nilsen, drummer Steve Pitkin, bassist Aaron MacPherson, and guitarist Yawd Sylvester — have dug themselves into an identifiable musical niche. Folk forms are the base of many of though songs here — "Simple" and "Fool's Gold Rope," for example, sound like timeless traditional ballads, and the CD resonates with echoes of Neil Young, and the psychedelic-period Byrds — though the dressing is an elaborate jumble of styles, from crunchy, guitar-laden country rock to orchestral rock and pure pop, with big hooks, horn parts and fully loaded harmonies. Vesely's tunes are clever and quirky, his lyrics at times whimsical, ironic, sentimental and satirical, and his light voice an extremely pleasant instrument in this new setting. Best part about this CD is that Vesely has resisted the urge to give it the big production treatment. Instead, he has let this collection of eccentric musicians find their own way to the heart of the songs, using simple, organic instruments and eschewing grand gestures and synthesized symphonic arrangements. -Greg Quill


NOW MAGAZINE

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THE VIOLET ARCHERS The End Of Part One (Northern Electric) Rating:


I'm sure being a Canadian icon and woefully underappreciated at the same time is something Tim Vesely, the voice of the Rheostatics, knows a thing or two about. Maybe his sidestepping project, the Violet Archers, will vault Vesely to the NME-Rolling Stone buzz stratosphere. Bringing in Ida Nilsen (Buttless Chaps) to play piano and sing along shows Vesely's genius. She adds a nice touch of introspective wonder to the set. Wayne Omaha boys Aaron MacPherson and Steve Pitkin help flesh out the hook-laden melodies. By Divine Right's Jose Contreras adds some of his mojo to a few tracks, but it's still Vesely's vehicle, and he's driven into some pretty tasty territory. -
BR


EXCLAIM MAGAZINE

Violet Archers The End of Part One
September 08, 2005

Master pop craftsman Tim Vesely steps out from the Rheostatics to deliver the catchy melodies he¹s known for. The architect behind the Rheos¹ biggest singles (³Claire,² ³Bad Time to be Poor²), Vesely¹s gifted enough to send his thoughtful lyrics into the air with cheery music hot on its tail. Quiet and unassuming, Vesely modestly writes amazing songs that often steal the spotlight from his domineering partners in the Rheostatics. It¹s a real treat to hear Vesely venture into solo territory with the Violet Archers. From the lethargic, slow-build of "Co-ordinates" to the dark, Crazy Horse vibe of "All the Good" and peppy charge of "Life and Then", The End of Part One is an eclectic affair. The sparse folk of ³Simple² flows pleasantly after the hopeful tone of "Saved Me", and Vesely makes such transitions seamless. Rather than forcing erratic musical twists and turns, Vesely is keen to let his songs develop naturally. The songs here are too interesting to be straight per se, but are free of the idiosyncrasies his musical day job is known for. Instead, we get a classic album of understated pop music from one of the best writers around. - By Vish Khanna



CHART ATTACK

THE VIOLET ARCHERS The End Of Part One (Northern Electric/Maximum/Universal)
Tim Vesely could well be considered the "normal" Rheostatic when put up against his songwriter cohorts, the goofier Dave Bidini and loopier Martin Tielli. Of course in such a unique band normal is relative, but Vesely's songs generally lean more towards straightforward rock-pop — a trend he doesn't stray far from in his solo side-project The Violet Archers. Nothing here would sound out of place on a Rheos album, but without the competing frontmen it becomes a thing all its own. Great Aunt Ida vocalist Ida Nilsen contributes sweet harmonies, and while Vesely doesn't take any wild artsy side-trips, he crafts gentle ballads and pop exuberance. - David McDougall




VIEW MAGAZINE

THE VIOLET ARCHERS
Tim Vesley and co. cultivate their roots

Tim Vesely has long been known among Rheostatics fans as “the quiet one,” or as the liner notes in their classic debut Greatest Hits dubs him, “the Mystery Man.” Yet while he may be the quiet one, he’s definitely not
the slacker. Throughout their storied career, the soft spoken multi–instrumentalist has penned many of the Rheos’ most requested and commercially accepted tunes, with “Soul Glue,” “Claire” and “Bad Time to be Poor” being key examples. Tim has also had some extra creative momentum come his way in the past few years, and the results can be heard not only on the Rheostatics latest full–length, 2067, but especially on the self–titled debut album of his own new band, The Violet Archers,
released just a few weeks ago by Vancouver’s Northern Electric Records.

“For some reason, about two or three years ago, my writing just seemed to come together. I seemed to hit some sort of stride and I guess it was, coincidentally, during a summer that the Rheos had off altogether. Dave (Bidini) was in Italy writing a book or something,” Vesely recalls, adding that he’s “…already got another whole album worth of songs ready to go.”As stated by the group’s website—thevioletarchers.com—the album was “constructed on the fly,” mostly by Vesely, who laid the bed tracks down with an old gigging buddy, Steve Pitkin, on drums. Tim then overdubbed a substantial portion of the instrumental work with his own able hands before calling upon a few friends to spice up and complete the mix.

First came Yawd Sylvester and Aaron MacPherson of Woodstock’s own Wayne Omaha to fill the essential ‘rhythm section’ position, then Vancouver’s Ida Nilsen, who brought an angelic voice and extensive keyboard ability to the fold. While there are a few more guest appearances made on the record, most notably by Jose Contreras of By Divine Right, the aforementioned folks comprise the working lineup of the Violet Archers. Wayne Omaha have been gig openers for the Rheostatics on several occasions. “They recorded their first record at the Gas Station with Dale Morningstar,” Vesely reminisces. “They just went in for a night and did this album, and Dale told us about these guys who came in and called everyone ‘dude’ and brought all this beer into the studio and just had a party. That just sort of stuck in our minds.“Then we did a Maritime tour with them a while ago and they drove this stretch Suburban thing that they bought from a military base. It doesn’t run anymore, but it was called Mandy. It had three or four doors down the sides… it was just an awesome vehicle.” Obscenely cool touring vessels aside, Tim obviously saw some serious talent in these young party dudes. As he simply explains, “When it came time to find musicians, I just go for what I like, so I called these guys up.”

Ida Nilsen’s own group, Great Aunt Ida, also has a new record under its collective belt and Vesely endorses it fully. “When I asked her to sing and play in my band,” he notes, “I hadn’t even heard her album yet and once she sent me a copy, it pretty much became my favorite record of the year.” We’ll be lucky enough to see for ourselves as Great Aunt Ida are also on this Sunday’s bill. Websites for both Great Aunt Ida and Wayne Omaha are linked from the Violent Archers’ site.

When Vesely needed to come up with a name for this project, he couldn’t clear his head of a lovely piece of music that he’d heard on the radio by a late Canadian composer with a beautiful name. Ironically, the piece itself didn’t stick with him so much as the name of its composer. “It’s the name of a woman composer who spent most of her life working in Edmonton, through the ’50s and ’60s,” Vesely explains. “She passed away maybe a decade ago.” Violet Archer was indeed a fine prairie–based composer and music educator who left us just five years ago. “I was just listening to the CBC one day and one of her pieces came on. Once they announced who it was, I thought it was a really beautiful name. I also thought it was cool because it relates to Canadian music history and another side of music completely… and I just couldn’t get it out of my head, so I went with it.”

If you’re already familiar with Tim’s work in the Rheostatics, then you aren’t likely to find his solo material to be that drastic of a departure. If anything, one may detect a more streamlined approach to his rootsy songwriting than that of the more collaborative, “gotta have a little prog” policy of the Rheos’. One song in particular, “Path of Least,” actually had early life in a few Rheostatics set lists but as Vesely frankly notes, “…the guys thought it was too plain, too boring. So I went away from that discussion and ended up writing “Here Comes the Image” (one of Tim’s eventual contributions to 2067) keeping in mind that I shouldn’t be writing such simple songs for the Rheos.” Lyrically, Vesely seamlessly blends the personal and the political into his songs. In his own words, “First the Wheel,” from the new disc, “is about feeling helpless in a world that’s controlled by multi–national corporations, getting their genetically altered fingerprints on the food you’re eating at home with your family.” When asked if “Saved Me” is a just a nice little love song for the wife, he replies, “There you go, you got it” with a proud giggle.

Okay, so maybe it’s not always so “seamless,” but he consistently covers both areas with a poetic grace and folky strength that is all too often underappreciated, if not undermined, in today’s pop world.
The Violet Archers, along with Great Aunt Ida and local dream rock ambassadors A Northern Chorus, will grace the stage of the Casbah this Sunday evening to share their latest works with anybody who seeks a more relaxed and tuneful evening out, in one of the city’s more
endearing small venues. V

 
     
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