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The Velvet Teen, All is Illusory (Topshelf Records)




The Velvet Teen, All is Illusory (Topshelf Records)
CD Reviews: July 16, 2015

07/16/15
By Eric Saeger news@hippopress.com



The Velvet Teen, All is Illusory (Topshelf Records)

A band with actual talent can certainly flip The Man the bird and try being truly interesting, but more and more, that approach seems to come with a witch’s curse of some sort. Take this outstanding northern California-based prog-noise band, who lost founding drummer Logan Whitehurst to cancer just when they were building up a head of steam in 2004, on the strength of their baroque-oriented guitar-less Elysium album. The Cum Laude LP came after that, wherein they moved further away from their earliest mope-twee leanings and tinkered with noise rock, and that all takes us to now, nine years after they last possessed the psychic wherewithal to cobble together a full-length. There are hints of everything they’ve tried before, such as the bleary-eyed Coldplay piano-rockout “Veil Between,” and ambitious noise-rock, most notably the punk-speed “Eclipses.” Along with all this, there’s “Manifest,” the oddest track on board, with “Mr. Roboto” fitting in surprisingly nicely with its 1970s-pop ditties. Not that it doesn’t fit here — it definitely does, as do the ’90s-grunge influences they surely picked up as kids (“Church or State” has a faint but definite hint of Nirvana about it, and “Taken Over” sounds like a Pearl Jam ballad). The noise-synth barnburner “Pecos” totally rules — very solid, relevant tuneage here. AEric W. Saeger





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