The Means are a very spastic garage rock band, teetering on the edge of punk rock, much in the way that did the late great Nation Of Ulysses, who obviously influenced The Means more than a little bit. There are few bands out there truly worth copying, but I truly think Nation of Ulysses is one of them.
As can be expected, the songs on VIL/VIOL are 100% rockin', often times reminiscent of The Cramps (see "Consider Yourself a Hero"). The guitars are very warm and jangly, with overdriven sounds rather than distortion. The drums sound very big and full, kind of like Led Zeppelin's drums, or drums when Steve Albini records a record. The singer is a total spazz, and he sounds very much like Ian Sevonius.
The songs on VIL/VIOL are predictable, for the most part, with exception being given to "All They Hide," which is a drunken cowboy's lament, played one acoustic guitar and piano, with terribly vocalized lyrics moaning and groaning. I would have preferred The Means to have ended on a more rockin' note. VIL/VIOL is a very well done record, chock full of enough slinky guitar riffs and hard hitting drums to please just about anyone who loves garage rock.
On a side note, the artwork for this CD is fantastic! The covers are three-color silk screens (yellow, red, and black) and the colors are so vibrant and wonderful that I nearly jumped out of my pants at the sight of that eagle attacking the snake!
Doubleplusgood Records: http://www.doubleplusgoodrecords.com