Nine years after the release of their third full-length, Cum Laude!, The Velvet Teen are back with a new album on Boston’s Topshelf Records, All Is Illusory. The record drops on June 30 and sees the band return in fine form.
Even from their beginnings, The Velvet Teen have experimented with a variety of sounds. The band was able to switch its sound from fragile pop to heavy feedback and return easily. Even as The Velvet Teen’s music evolved over the course of three albums, the band kept a mind to explore different aspects of their sound. Elysium in 2004 saw the group abandon guitars for keyboards, strings, and horns. Cum Laude!, in 2006, saw the band embracing elements of noise rock in their sound.
The various sounds The Velvet Teen has explored over the band’s sixteen year life coalesce on All Is Illusory. Opening track “Sonreo” kicks off with a jolt of energy that the rest of the album carries through. Songs like “Eclipses” and “You Were the First” keep the flow moving, but the band shows they can slow the music down, too. The title track, “Manifest,” and the eleven-minute “Taken Over” reveal a patience that the group has developed over the years. When the slower tracks come up on the record, they are a welcome change and the sign of a band that appreciates faster is not always better (though as many of the other tracks show, faster is often better).
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