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13 August 2010

Album review: Velochrome. Velochrome EP.

Artist: Velochrome.
Album: Velochrome EP.
Label: Studio 4FF.
Release date: 2010.

These days it seems as if there are Shoegaze and Dream Pop bands falling from the sky. Almost everyday I discover a new release by a band I have never heard of. In this case it's Velochrome, who hail from Cologne, Nordrhein-Westfalen Germany and have just released their self-titled EP via Studio 4FF (you can find the link for purchase on their MySpace page). I literally stumbled across this band on YouTube, and I was very surprised by how mature they sound. They have a deep, post-punk sound, along with the swirling guitars of shoegaze/dream pop. It makes for the perfect marriage of textures: silvery, fuzzed out guitars awash in reverb and delay. On the whole this is a very, very satisfying release. The only thing that could possibly make it any better would be more of it!

The main architect of their sound is Tobias Sawitzki. I don't know much about Tobias, other than his name, but what I do know is he alone wrote,recorded and mixed the entire ep! He weaves a sound that is at once familiar, but never cloying or contrived. He delves into the past and brings back the right influences without sounding like anyone in particular. The opening track, "Don't You Know Me",is a gorgeous, swirling beauty. It is immense in scope and is so, so catchy. The chorus will be in your head for days! The vocals are deep and almost Joy Division-esque, but more melodic.

Track two is entitled "So Close Behind Our Eyes" and is the perfect amalgam of dream pop and post-punk. The layered vocals are so chill bump inducing it hurts(in a pleasurable way of course)! The guitar in this song is perfection, in my opinion anything more,or less would destroy its dreamy aura. It has a silvery, cascading melody that explodes into a wall of gazey goodness. The bass line is very Peter Hook in the way that it climbs high and follows a distinct melody line. This song gets an A+!

Track three, "This Solemn Atmosphere", seems to take a left turn on initial listen. With it's conga drum, sitar, flute and acoustic strumming, it catches you off guard (which is a good thing).It has the same layered vocals as the previous track and a beautiful melody line. I have never heard a more apt title for a song. It reminds me of a Blind Mr. Jones track from their classic, must own shoegaze album Stereo Musicale (1992). I suppose it could be the flute that gives rise to the comparison, but it is the overall atmosphere of "Atmosphere" that sparks the connection in my mind to BMJ. Track four, "Stereobath", is indeed just that: a "stereobath"! The panning done in this song is made for the headphone junkie. It is vertigo inducing and will blow away fans of The Verve's more trippy psychedelic moments. I consider it a connecting piece(an interlude) similar to what My Bloody Valentine did on Loveless. "Stereobath" is an aural triumph.

The final track, "Worth and Matter", is definitely more post-punk in its styling. It reminds me of the the mighty and underrated band Breathless, who straddle the dream pop/post-punk fence better than just about anybody in recent memory. It is at the same time both dark and sensuous. A great closing track.

Velochrome seem to be a band destined for bigger,better things. If they release a full-length as stunning as this EP, they will have made a contemporary dream pop classic.It is without hesitation that I give this ep 5 stars. Every song is a stunner, and I await a full-length with bated breath and much hope.

Review by Danny.