Release Date: Out Now
Bolshie. Lads. Gang. Riot. Rock. Roll. Attitude. Sneer. The debut album from hotly tipped Cornish trio the Velvet Hands is more about a lifestyle and a state of mind than a sound or a genre. That said, from first hum of feedback, ‘Party’s Over’ is an album hell bent on a good time and not worrying about the consequences and if that’s not rock’n’roll then I don’t know what is. Opener ‘Sick of Living’ goes at about 100 miles an hour and is the kind of song with the sole intention of announcing that the band have arrived – this is not a rehearsal, this is not a soundcheck, this is the start of the show. Straight in to ‘Only Blame Myself’ and the Monkees beats mixed with the slacker cool of the Strokes or Hot Hot Heat makes this instantly infectious and adorable in equal measure – like a hedgehog.
The drum rumble of ‘Trains’ has a drawl about it that speaks of the Manchester scene but with an American garage vibe running through it while ‘Habit’ rattles along with all the control of a stolen car driven by the Libertines but twice as much fun. Things slow down a little on ‘Gimme Some Time’ and the vocals go all Iggy meets Shane on our asses with an attempt at some rough’n’ready crooning atop that lazy acoustic strum. ‘I Don’t Mind’ is, for me, the point that this album steps up to another level with the kind of chorus that is begging to be sung back by sweaty devotees in cramped venues up and down the country. The rock’n’roll riffage of ‘Everyone if Dead’ suggests these lads have been listening to their parents record collections as they squeeze in reference points from the likes of the Jam, the Stooges, Squeeze and the Undertones to every second of this two minute roller coaster ride.
|The Velvet Hands|
The energy and volume levels don’t let up on ‘Games’ with the guitars and gang vocals tipping that needle in to the red with each chorus. There’s a nod to the likes of Lynyrd Skynyrd or Ram Jam on ‘Birthday Blues’ as the country tinged guitars hide the tears of the lonely birthday boy on his big day. Title track ‘Party’s Over’ is a more studied approach and does have the feel of a tune that’s played when the lights are put up and you can finally see who you’ve been sharing bodily fluids with for the past few hours in the dark. At nearly 7 minutes long this penultimate track is practically prog rock by the Velvet Hands’ standards but it doesn’t lose any of its urgency or impact for the additional length so maybe there’s no need to hurry so much. Final track ‘The End’ is a classic morning-after-the-night-before strum full of furry tongues, missing socks, stickiness and periods of memory loss but all wrapped in a general feeling of satisfaction of a town well and truly painted red.
There is a youth and urgency to the Velvet Hands that is impossible to learn or imitate but, more importantly, it feels like there are genuine songs behind this band which suggests more longevity than most early-20s bands achieve. This is an explosion of an album but don’t expect their fire to burn out just as quickly, these guys feel like they’re in it for the long haul.
More information: https://www.facebook.com/thevelvethands/
7th May – O2 Academy, Oxford w/the Bluetones
11th May – Purple Turtle, Reading
12th May – Mothers Ruin, Bristol
17th May – Northern Exposure, Manchester
19th May – The Alternative Escape @ The Black Lion, Brighton
25th May – Notting Hill Arts Club, London
26th May – The Underground, Plymouth w/The Rezner + School Disco
3rd August - Bring it on Down @ Café Totem, Sheffield w/Teef