Fuzz, Beautiful Fuzz

The Orange Velvets

Cherry Lemonade Records, 2010


REVIEW BY: Vish Iyer


Like a lot of other bands, The Orange Velvets should be grateful for the effects of reverb for helping them create interesting songs from unexceptional songwriting. While there are whole genres that hold reverb sacrosanct as a tool to create beautifully weird worlds, lush with strange noises, Velvets, on the other hand, have a sound almost devoid of any production or ambitious vision.

Velvets have no aspiration to create unimaginably florid sounds from white noise. The short garage-pop songs of this band have an undeniably ‘60s retro feel. The one guitar, one drum, and no bass lineup of the band sounds primitive and grimy. However, there are no nasty guitar riffs of yesteryear. In fact, the band doesn’t even have the spunk of The Kinks or the killer instincts of The Stooges or the badass attitude of The Ramones. my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

The music of The Velvets is actually much more cultured than it would seem from their stripped-down unsophisticated songs. The rawness of the jarring guitar sound is snubbed in favor of heavy reverb, which does add some plushness to the music. The outstanding drumming more than compensates for the otherwise weak rhythm section. Its deft pounding is softened by the album’s ubiquitous reverb effects, which adds some class to it. However, it takes away from the depth of the instrumentation. And due to a total absence of any denseness in the music, the guitars not only sound less menacing, but also less alluring. The music picks up a slight nib of urban indie from the lack of punch or recklessness in the vocals, the music, or the lyrics.

But the band isn’t entirely play-it-safe either. The relaxed and totally dry vocals of singer Jesse Lurie infuses some amount of brashness into the songs that gives them the rough ‘60s street-cred that goes a long way in giving Fuzz, Beautiful Fuzz an attitude, and the band isn’t threatened to look completely like a bunch of hipsters.

However, all the reverb of Fuzz, Beautiful Fuzz would be flat and seemingly boring if not for the vocals of Lurie’s female sidekick Erin Cory (now a former band member). When she is the lead vocalist of a song, her naturally sweet and vibrant vocals give lift to the music and hold the various bleary reverbed parts together. And when providing backup vocals, her “doo-doos” and “daa-daas” give the music an adorable Beach Boys flair, adding a ‘60s psychedelic dimension.

On Fuzz, Beautiful Fuzz, the words “fun” and “retro” gleam together like a newly married couple. The band’s confidence and attitude in their music, despite not even so much as even making a faint attempt to try out something new, is somehow sexy. And this sexiness is captivating in an otherwise imperfect record.

Rating: B

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© 2010 Vish Iyer and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Cherry Lemonade Records, and is used for informational purposes only.