The Hated Opinionated One

Velveteen’s Fortunate Mishap

Posted by Scotio on April 9, 2008

For an underground/up-and-coming band, it’s a wonderful thing when someone mistags your album for one of a band that is in heavy rotation in the USA or around the whole world. The band Velveteen(not to be confused with the American band, Velvet Teen), were the recent blessed recipients of such a wonderful mishap when someone falsely uploaded their album as Death Cab For Cutie’s Narrow Stairs album. Lucky for them, their album, Home Waters, is wonderful from start to finish. Though you’ll find no Ben Gibbard songwriting(well, almost), nor will you hear Chris Walla production/guitar work. But, like I said, that is nothing to fret over. The first piece of proof of that is the second track, first full song of the album, “After The K.M. Tapes.” I can’t tell you who K.M. is, or if it stands for a particular object, but it doesn’t diminish the awesomeness of this song. With subtle Shoegazing influences, Indie Rock singing, and Sunny Day Real Estate(one of DCFC’s influenced) styled songwriting. The melancholy vibe from “The Drummer Goes Berserk,” is hard to miss. With the keyboard keys chiming along like a morbid bedtime melody, you’re treated with the steady flow of a drum machine instead of an actual drummer losing his marbles during recording. True to Indie fashion, the title leaves you wondering what exactly does it have to do with the song(could the drummer have spazzed out prior to recording forcing them to use the drum machine in his place?). No matter the reason, all the sounds are in perfect marriage with the almost-emo tone of the singer. On “The Getaway,” it’s not hard to see the comparison between Velv & Death Cab. Sounding like something missing from between the Transatlanticism and Plans period of DCFC, Velveteen hits all the right notes at exactly the right time. If Zach Braff is listening to them, then you can expect them to be featured on whatever new movie he has in the works. “Come `Round Here No More” has to be one of the most peculiar songs on the album. As the band brings up an obstructing wall of sound while the singer keeps softly belting out lyrics as if he’s oblivious to the noise that’s drowning him out in every sense. On “Interlude: The DJ Affair,” a moderate listener of Death Cab would have to double check(maybe even triple), to make sure that Carsten Schrauff didn’t magically turn into Ben Gibbard in the middle of the album. “Firework Special” brings the bass-heavy side of Indie music. With fast alternate picking, you get the feeling that the guitar is sparkling like a crystal instrument in the back ground(Think Nick Zinner’s playing for Yeah Yeah Yeah’s song “Maps”). Filling up with intensity during the climax, Schrauff sings in a distorted microphone that makes him sound like he’s standing six feet behind the band and yelling in hopes that the mic will pick up his voice. A very dynamic effect for such a beautifully driven song. With aggressive bridge performances and a runaway train drum track, “The Big Lay Off” offers more than your typical moaning and groaning. The song is more in line with a coming to terms, revelation, or even an epiphanic moment that has finally made itself known. Tying everything up is “Epilogue: Night Swimming.” Another similar album cut to one that sounds like it could be featured on an album by the band that they were intentionally mislabeled as. With what sounds like a spaceship running idle in the background, they play the piano and strum their guitars in near perfect unison. Followed by nothing but the sound of this Solar Aquatic noise lulling you into the end of an album that was lucky enough to be well deserving of the unintentional attention that they have received. Is this album going to change the world? No. But, it’s still an astonishing piece of musicmanship that most acts can’t seem to muster up in this day and age.


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