Six years after her Monster Alley debut, Los Angeles artist Violent Vickie delivers a follow-up album that not only finds her pushing her musical and production skills to their limit, but also lyrically confronting more than a few demons of both the personal and the societal variety. Throughout Division, Vickie navigates through the tumultuous subjects of abusive personal and professional relationships, exploitation and objectification, depression, addiction, and all points in between, drawing on her own experiences and observations; the poignancy of these topics is often felt by way of her lithe vocal tone, the repetition of phrases acting like mantras to instill a sense of urgency and import, such as on “Circle Square,” in which she defiantly repeats “In your world, I don’t belong.” Set against a descending pad progression and an insistently monotone bass, the track is unsettling but potent, drawing the listener in despite the lo-fi production qualities. The same can be said of songs like “The Gloom” with its nasally synth lead occasionally clashing with the eerie minor-key chord progression, as well as the lyrics regarding false victimhood in “Fake the Fury,” and the glassy synth and guitar arpeggios in “Under the Gun,” the all too familiar phrases of a sadistic employer resonating in contrast with Vickie’s vocal timbre. “The Monster” is almost reminiscent of Depeche Mode’s “The Things You Said” with its simple bass line and light swells of synth, while “Get Violent” could’ve easily been released in the proto-EBM and electropunk heyday of the late ‘70s/early ‘80s when groups like Suicide and DAF were first garnering attention, and although the strident post-punk rhythms of “The Blame” and “The Game” are darkly engaging enough, they don’t stand a chance against the morose yet melodic groove of “Gaslight,” the bass line and bluesy guitar accompaniments along with the catchy vocals making for perhaps the best song on Division. The wistful nature of the music tends to belie the angelic sound of Vickie’s voice, with the dirty sound of the drums and E’s effective guitar adding to the harmonic depth of the album; it’s not the slickest production sound, but Vickie’s command of every element gives the record a clean mix without sacrificing the edginess. The album’s subject matter may hit a bit too hard for some, but in true punk fashion, that’s clearly the sort of response Violent Vickie is seeking, forcing the conversations that shouldn’t be so uncomfortable in a supposedly enlightened society.