Velvet Ashes – Live From The Attic – EP Review
Life may very well imitate art, but it’s still pretty damn rare to find an album title that truly matches the feeling of a band or artist. This one does completely; Live From The Attic from Zurich-based band Velvet Ashes sounds so intimate, warm, relatable and CLOSE that you’ll swear they’re recording this in the very space above your own head, in your own home. If you’re on our east-coast here in Canada, you’ll definitely know what I mean as this particular brand of indie-folk truly resembles the sound you all know and love over there…in fact…you might just wanna check your attics…just in case…
Overall…it’s one of the strangest, most honest, unique, aggressive/melodic brands of folk-music I’ve personally come across. Strangest in the sense that it all truly comes together so well…but I think that comes from the heartfelt honesty & emotion you can genuinely feel communicated throughout their EP. Unique in the sense that it’s an aggressive mix in sound, but not necessarily in melody; think of bands like The Decemberists and their in-your-face melodies. It’s all right there up front in the mix…your ears can’t miss a thing. Crystal clear in production, confidence & conviction in the performance; Velvet Ashes pull you in extremely close to listen to their sweet & beautiful harmonies and delicate music.
In the vein of true-folk music, just like authentic folk tales being told to you the first time, you might not ‘get it’ at first. As “King And Queen For A Day” opens the EP, the baritone vocals of Nico come through strongly; mind you, like a cup of strong coffee you know you’re supposed to enjoy….it maybe just needs some sugar to go with it….
….that sugar comes from the vocals of Judith and Sally, both of which provide the perfect harmonies to make these songs work as well as they do. The contrast between vocalists compliments each other perfectly. “Perils In Space” is a great example of this as well, but also for the music itself. Overall, you’ve gotta hand it to Velvet Ashes – they’re an incredible ensemble of tight musicianship, using instruments that are quite often lesser reached for, but surely sought out by the eardrums of yours truly – and I know I’m not alone. But using mandolins, harps, fiddles…they’ve really created some beautiful combinations in sound here and some tremendous atmosphere. Again, “Perils In Space” is a fantastic example of everything this band is doing RIGHT.
“Not Part Of Your Game” is completely interesting through its structure and delivery. The shaky lead vocals of Judith really communicate the emotion in the song, and against the perfect guitar-playing from Nico and absolutely incredible fiddle-work from Sally…it all makes for one of the more ‘real’ sounding tracks I’ve heard in a while. I wasn’t kidding before…I feel like when I put this album on, that if I go in the other room I can just imagine them up in my attic making this music come to vibrant life.
As it winds down with “Fictional Lives,” Nico for a second time on this EP is nearly recalling a certain-era of Michael Stipe through his vocal-style. The backing vocals are perfect, the song structure is beautiful…it’s a fantastic song that certainly leaves the listener on the most beautiful of notes. Definitely a sound I’ll be looking forward to hearing more from in the future. Music needs real authenticity like this.
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