Velodrone Releases Freshman Musical Effort
There’s nothing wrong with rocking a retro sound as a modern rock n’ roll band if you have a pretty good handle on the concept behind what you’re trying to be (and, more importantly, what you’re trying to sound like), and if you need some evidence supporting the very notion of this statement being accurate, I point you towards none other than the sweet sounds of Californians Velodrone this November. In their self-titled debut, Velodrone aren’t pulling any punches when it comes to giving us their sound in an unfiltered cocktail of noise, melodic ranting and superbly rhythmic riff work – they’re a band on a mission, and they’re not stopping at anything in songs like “Believe” and “Wysiwyg” in this quest to save rock from the sands of time.
The emotion in “Harvest Moon,” “Sleepwalking,” “Love Race” and “Together” is difficult to ignore, even if you’re more the type to focus on the instrumental components of a song, and I think there’s no debating whether or not the group is being honest with their investment in the material as opposed to fronting a lyrical narrative simply to match the tone of the music they’re playing. That kind of posing is still remarkably common in the industry (more than some would ever have you believe), and I would say that Velodrone make no bones about hiding their disdain for such practices just with the way they’re presenting their music to us in this very first studio album to carry their moniker on the cover.
As murky as the melodies are in this LP, there’s still a certain pop sensibility to the way “Elated,” “Reality,” “Black Cat” and the previously mentioned “Love Race” were structured to balance out some of the more recklessly rock-influenced performances on the record. Though rambunctious, I use a term like ‘reckless’ with a lot of caution when reviewing an album like this one, mostly because of the fact that everything Velodrone are actually committing to master tape sounds rather focused and deliberate for the word to make any sense. It’s a situation where you have to listen to the record yourself to better understand the contrast that it wears like an aesthetical badge of honor, as it really doesn’t make itself easy to review (in a good way).
A not so flashy album that leaves me wondering what this band has in store for us for their next trip to the recording studio, Velodrone’s first LP is a grinder of a record that is curiously short and yet stacked with more of a wallop than some albums twice its size could ever hope to contain. This crew has a lot in common with their neighbors to the north of California, but as long as they stay as on-track with the work they’ve been devoted to in the future, they’re probably going to find their fate a little more comfortable than many of the biggest artists to have ever come out of scenes like those in Seattle or Portland ever could.