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Velvet Morning - Velvet Moon

  by Adrian Janes

published: 28 / 2 / 2014

Velvet Morning - Velvet Moon
Label: Tree House Music
Format: CDS


Under-developed but promising debut EP from Southend-on-Sea based drone act, Velvet Morning

The success of Velvet Morning’s debut EP depends on how much the listener cares to surrender to the downbeat, low-key mood which pervades it, from opener ‘Paranoia’ onwards. Over a heavy-lidded beat, as if having just woken up and stumbled into the studio, this establishes a characteristic reverbed sound centred on Luke Elgar’s elegant guitar and Samuel Jones’ numbed-out vocals. John Kirkwood’s bass, which elsewhere provides unobtrusive support, here occasionally slides strongly into the foreground. A little more energy comes from the addition of a tambourine and a guitar break of some urgency, the song climaxing with a rising guitar that contrasts with Jones’ inhibited voice, suggestive perhaps of the extremes of the mental state. The following track, ‘Octocity’, is based around delicate, entwined guitars and a slightly jauntier rhythm, the vocals even more heavily echoed. The later ‘She’s a Live Wire’ also creates a drone-based atmosphere (giving the title a certain irony), although its stronger melodicism achieves a certain beauty. Yet it too feels ultimately unsatisfying, due to the lack of development or resolution of its attractive theme. The most complete song is ‘Black Velvet Morning’, which moves along on an insistent mid-paced rhythm and a powerful contrast of typically glistening guitar counterposed by a much harsher line. Dropping away to a sparer interlude, the shimmering phrase then returns and the track is cut short, just as raw guitar surges up again. For once there is a real sense of drama due to this more ruthless approach, rather than that of the prevalent drone/stoned groove. ‘Blue Jean Baby’ is another of the stronger songs, featuring chunky guitar and more decisive drumming, over which Jones’ voice channels an Ian Brown-style insouciance. There is also further subtle guitarwork at play, presumably Elgar, who throughout is the band’s key musician while receiving solid, if self-effacing, support from the others. Concluding track ‘I Got You’ begins with droning guitars that seem to be emerging from the bottom of a well, before the piece slides into a pleasant groove of congas, strummed acoustic and descending bass,the vocals largely mixed to blend in with everything else apart from a brief dramatic rise in volume, before subsiding again. It successfully sets up a mood but fades away rather than comes to a conclusion. Velvet Morning undoubtedly have potential. They are certainly not alone in making the use of drone and repetition central, which seems at present to be an increasingly popular musical approach. Nonetheless the tracks which have most impact here, such as ‘Black Velvet Morning’, are those which try to reach beyond those limits. And it’s the fact of such tracks which hopefully mean that this debut is just the dawn before something greater is revealed.

Track Listing:-
1 Clouds Come First
2 Blue Jean Baby
3 Octocity
4 You Can't Download Food
5 Paranoia

Band Links:-

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