Review of Codeine Velvet Club's self-titled album
Codeine Velvet Club have to be one of the most surprising yet strangest acts of 2009. Consisting of The Fratellis front man Jon Lawler as well as Singer Songwriter Lou Hickey, they are a collaborate that 'share a love of 60s girl-boy duets, dark post-war Hollywood and Las Vegas romanticism'.
Well opening track Hollywood certainly goes the right way about filling that rather specific criteria. With Lawler taking the reins, it bursts into life without stark warning. Hickey provides Broadway musical backing vocals until a stuttering stop start chorus resonates over a sea of strings. Think The Last Shadow Puppets with more Sinatra and less Scott Walker.
The showbiz titled Vanity Kills also manages to impress. This time lacquered with horns, the boy-girl combo opt to share vocals this time as we are allowed to examine the vocal ability of the unknown Hickey to a greater extent. It's a voice that doesn't disappoint, never sounding overawed by the epic brass section on the record and manages to blend successfully with Lawler.
At this point it all works nicely, achieving its desired sound providing the theatrical sound that the press release promised. However it all goes a bit pear shaped for a while somewhere in the middle. Time winds up sounding like something from the Rock Horror Show, whereas The Black Roses fails to get going and winds up leaving you under whelmed. If the first track was Hollywood this ones merely a B-movie.
Like all good movie careers, a comeback is always possible and that's exactly what's achieved via the energetic swinging Little Sister. Sporting some monster riffs as well as a powerful anthemic chorus 'Hey little sister just slow down slow down hey little sister just don't let go' Its more glam rock that post war Hollywood but all the same its almost impossible not to get swept along with it all. The recovery at this point is complete and shows no signs of waning, even when they try their hand at the ballad Rest Avec Moi.
Velvet Codeine Club then finish off matters with the flag waving Begging Bowl Blues which fades out gracefully to perfectly sum up an album that doesn't full short with its charm. An original idea, it's a record that manages to sound both retrospective with its nods to post war Hollywood glamour as well as modern with its strong riffs and song writing styles. Maybe not an Oscar winning performance but certainly worthy of a Bafta.
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