Technicolour Shake Down

Velvet Starlings

Sounds x3/Kitten Robot Records, 2021

REVIEW BY: Tom Haugen


I had a feeling we were going back to the ’60s with this debut album from the Los Angeles outfit Velvet Starlings; that colorful artwork just oozes with psychedelia, groovy ideas and plenty of summery melodies. Turns out I was only partly right, cause there's a whole lot more going on in this superb and timeless record. my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

“She Said (She Said)” opens the listen with moody organ before abruptly shifting into speedy, fuzzed-out garage rock that sounds both retro and modern in its rowdy delivery. “Checkmate” follows and bounces and shakes with a bit of alt-rock spirit as the thumping drums and thick guitar make it unclear if you should head for the dance floor or the mosh pit.

Moving towards the middle, the nostalgic keys and firm jangle of “Can’t Control” builds into a loud anthemic rocker, while “There's Nobody There” recruits plenty of breezy psychedelia in the tuneful and crisp vintage rock. “No Regrets,” one of the album's best, then lands in ’60s territory with a Brit-rock influence that's busy but meticulous.

The title track arrives near the end, and is full of fluid guitar playing, drumming acrobatics and plenty of indie-rock moments mixed into the raw but very tuneful delivery, and “Turn It On” exits the listen with superb organ playing and enough fuzz to make J. Mascis jealous.

Amazingly, Velvet Starlings is spearheaded by 18-year-old Christian Gisborne (Foster Poling plays drums live, and Hudson Poling handles bass), who tracked all the instruments, engineered, produced and mixed these 10 incredible songs. Imagine The Beatles and The Byrds on steroids and growing up on '90s alt-rock and you get some idea of how crucial this is.

Rating: A

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© 2022 Tom Haugen 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 Sounds x3/Kitten Robot Records, and is used for informational purposes only.