Posted by: will | September 6, 2006

The Velvet Teen…

The Velvet Teen “Cum Laude” (Slowdance)

Buy it at Insound!

On a particular message board that I frequent the question in reference to The Velvet Teen’s new album Cum Laude was why the band felt the need to make an album like this. It’s a damn good question and I am certainly curious to know the answer. Over-ambitiousness has been the downfall of many a band. Sadly, three albums into their career, The Velvet Teen seem on the verge of succombing to that particular pitfall.

The band’s debut, 2002’s Out Of The Fierce Parade, was utterly brilliant and had many comparing the band to the best of Radiohead and Jeff Buckley. The band’s second album, 2004’s Elysium, was more of an experiment than a true follow up. It saw the band completely abandoning their guitars. And here we are now with 2006’s Cum Laude. This album can be seen as yet another experiment by the band. For some reason, the band constantly seems to overthink their work. Many of the album’s tracks seem downright cluttered. Stripped down, there are some fascinating songs here but far too often they seem to be hidden by studio trickery and a reliance on production instead of songcraft. Don’t get me wrong though, there are some outstanding songs on Cum Laude. Songs like “Flicking Clint” and the gorgeous “False Prophets” echo the past wonder of The Velvet Teen while “Noi Boi” and “Gyzmkid” sound like lost Sunny Day Real Estate gems.

The Velvet Teen still has time to correct their ship but it’s frustrating to watch a band that is so obviously talented continue to stub their toe. In my review of the band’s recent Gyzmkid EP, which was a precursor to Cum Laude, I stated that it served its purpose by wetting the listener’s appetite. Unfortunately, The Velvet Teen have failed to deliver on their promise and once again I’m left waiting and hoping that the band will come through with their next record.

RIYL: Jeff Buckley, Sunny Day Real Estate, Radiohead

Listen:

The Velvet Teen – Tokyoto (mp3)

The Velvet Teen – In A Steadman Spray (mp3)

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