19 February, 2014 in Music Reviews
Southend’s finest psychedelic drone merchants unveil a debut that wears its influences on its sleeve but impresses all the same
hen Songwriting recently interviewed Southend newcomers Velvet Morning, singer and songwriter Sam Jones was keen to impress on us the fact that he doesn’t really want the band’s music to be compared to anyone else’s, asserting that, “We’re a new band, and we’d like to think we’ve got our own sound.”
Well, tough. Because from the critic’s point of view, it’s nigh-on impossible to discuss Velvet Moon without mentioning certain other artists. Lazy, hazy opener Paranoia, for instance, could have been lifted straight off Spacemen 3’s The Perfect Prescription album, while the sunny, psychedelic pop drift of She’s A Live Wire sounds uncannily like Primal Scream circa Sonic Flower Groove. Sorry, Sam, but it’s true.
Crucially, though, this is by no means a bad thing. The spirit of those artists – and of the Velvets, J&MC, MBV and half a dozen late 60s west coast artists to boot – may loom large over Velvet Moon, but there are other influences in evidence that mark out these four Essex U-25’s as more than mere copyists. See, for instance, Black Velvet Morning, whose layers of guitar squall topped with gentle vocal harmonies would have done the Stone Roses proud.
Rapidly carving out a name for themselves in the psychedelic underground, Velvet Morning may need to spread their musical wings a little wider if they want to break out beyond that scene. In the meantime we have Velvet Moon. Yes, it’s an EP that sits rooted quite firmly in a long-established musical tradition. Despite that, it also happens to be one of the most assured debuts we’ve heard from any rock band in recent years.
Verdict: An undeniably derivative, yet nonetheless remarkably impressive debut