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Velvet Crush - A Single Odessey

  by Geraint Jones

published: 13 / 2 / 2002

Velvet Crush - A Single Odessey
Label: Action Musik
Format: CD


"Great guitar pop record " and compilation from long-serving former Creation signings, Velvet Crush.

Having now been together for more than thirteen years, Velvet Crush can be considered to be amongst the hardy perennials of the contemporary power pop scene. In fact you can trace the band’s roots back even further than that to bands like Choo Choo Train, the Springfields and Bag O’ Shells. Long-time musical cohorts Rick Menck and Paul Chastain, the core members of the aforementioned bands, released a slew of singles on fondly remembered labels like Picture Book, Bus Stop, Summershine, Subway and Sarah in the latter half of the 1980s before hooking up with guitarist Jeffrey Borchardt (aka Underhill) and forming Velvet Crush in 1989. A tougher proposition than any of their preceding outfits, Velvet Crush has released consistently excellent material, albeit somewhat infrequently, since their inception. Signed to Creation in the UK following a couple of early singles, they faced the almost insurmountable problem of being American at a time when everyone in the UK was going Britpop crazy. Their excellent second album, ‘Teenage Symphonies To God’, for example was mostly overlooked as Creation switched their focus, a little blinkeredly in retrospect, in the build up to Oasismania. ‘A Single Odessey’ provides an opportunity for reflection on what might have (and probably should have) been. Featuring no less than twenty tracks this superb compilation is comprised of tracks from singles and EPs not previously available on album, together with a handful of tracks previously only available in Japan and one previously unreleased track. Displaying deep affection and reverence for a host of classic pop artists including the Beatles, the Kinks, the Byrds and later exponents like the Raspberries, Velvet Crush blend these influences into something readily identifiable as their own work. Kicking off with both sides of their long unavailable 1990 debut ‘If Not True’ and ‘One Thing Two Believe’, the quality of the music and performances is striking from the outset. If any further argument were necessary, then the fact that Velvet Crush could count on no lesser talents than Matthew Sweet and Mitch Easter to call on as producers and guest musicians ought to convince most sceptics. Hooks aplenty, cascading guitars, sublime harmonies; they’re all here communicating the songs with finesse, subtlety and energy. Amongst the classic originals, ‘Atmosphere’, ‘Drive Me Down’ and more are a fascinating choice of cover versions that illustrate the band’s influences and adaptation skills in entertaining fashion. From their take on Teenage Fanclub’s Everything Flows, to the previously unheard version of Gene Clark’s Elevator Operator and more, the arrangements may not be all that radically different from the originals, but Velvet Crush make a very bold attempt to claim the songs for themselves. Simply stated this is a great guitar pop record by one of the great guitar pop bands. Hell if I haven’t convinced you by now, there’s no hope, If I have, then thank you for paying attention. Now go buy the damn thing! You won’t be disappointed.

Track Listing:-
1 If Not True
2 One Thing Two Believe
3 Circling The Sun
4 Everything Flows
5 She Cracked
6 Atmosphere
7 Gentle Breeze
8 Butterfly Position
9 Drive Me Down (Acoustic)
10 Remember The Lightning
11 Elevator Operator
12 Mr. Spaceman
13 One Hundred Years From Now
14 Don't You Slip Away From Me
15 It's Been Too Long And It's Too Late Now
16 Be Someone Tonight
17 Leisure 40
18 The Thing That You Do
19 Party Line
20 On My Side

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Soft Sounds (2003)
Change of direction for long-time power-poppers Velvet Crush, which finds the band now stripped down to a duo producing their first soft rock record

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