The Shocking Fuzz Of Your Electric Fur: The Drake Equation

The Veldt

Independent release, 2016

http://www.theveldtmusic.com

REVIEW BY: Vish Iyer

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 04/08/2017

The Veldt was initially signed to the giant, Capitol Records, all the way back in 1989, then to another giant (Mercury Records). They have worked with dreampop royalty Robin Guthrie, and have even played with the likes of Guthrie’s band Cocteau Twins and The Jesus And Mary Chain. Still, this New York-based (originating from Raleigh, NC) outfit remains pretty obscure, with most of their work available only as expensive used CDs. However, The Veldt is like an enigma. Any reference to these guys online makes them seem like pioneers – a true musical force to the smattering of folks who managed to discover these guys.

The band’s latest, The Shocking Fuzz Of Your Electric Fur: The Drake Equation is the most easily available of their releases, along with perhaps their 1992 effort Marigolds. This new release makes it pretty clear for the first-timers why these guys are loved so much by the few who are familiar with their work.

The Veldt has always refused to be typecasted. Their 1994 album Afrodisiac is considered a lost shoegazer classic, and is compared to A.R.Kane – another relatively unknown but highly acclaimed act – for the diversity of influences that it incorporates. Similar to my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 Afrodisiac, The Shocking Fuzz… cannot be easily classified either. It is equal parts shoegazer, soul, trip-hop, and chillwave.

The Shocking Fuzz… is a five-song EP, but it clocks in at 30 minutes long. The songs are lengthy and meandering, and they take their own time to gradually unfurl, like some kind of creeping hypnotizing magic spell.

“One Day Out Of Life,” the longest cut here, is like a track from Massive Attack’s Mezzanine. The beats are sparse and the guitars are heavy, but both are pushed way to the background, creating not so much as music as an atmosphere that is both eerie and relaxed at the same time. Complementing this music is frontman Daniel Chavis’ falsetto vocals, which are soulful and sensuous, adding further to the Massive Attack aura of this song.

“And It’s You,” a track produced by A.R.Kane’s Rudy Tambala, has an ‘80s R&B vibe with its chilled-out beats and vocals. That’s until the guitars kick in, at which point it becomes what can be best described as a heavenly combination of shoegazer and soul music.

The album highlight “Sanctified” is driven by laidback minimalist beats that are reminiscent of hip-hop music, on top of which lay divinely massive guitars with vocals that sound spiritual, as if they were singing the gospel.

“A Token” and “In A Quiet Room,” also album highlights, are the dreamiest and the most melodious numbers in this collection, evocative of the “Cocteau Twins” ethereal sound. With their hip-hop beats and Chavis’ soulful vocals, these tracks again bring a new sense of sexiness and passion to the world of shoegazer/dreampop, which is often aloof and shy.

The Veldt has always pursued their own course musically and didn’t let anyone dictate them. Even in this current resurgence of shoegazer music where it is easy – and even acceptable – to simply rehash what’s done in the past, The Veldt refuses to be stuck in a nostalgic rut and has chosen to reinvent themselves. Although the band has sort of explored the particular musical direction of The Shocking Fuzz... earlier under the name Apollo Heights, they have not only perfected it here but have taken it to a whole new level.

The current resurgence of shoegazer music is a perfect time for The Veldt to receive the much needed exposure that they should have received over 20 years ago, and there is no better album for this than The Shocking Fuzz…

Rating: A-

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