CD Review: "Lights Won't Go Out"

CD: Lights Won't Go Out
ARTIST: The Red Velvet

This 15-song full-length debut from one of the more kickass bands in the state could've just as well have been called "Moving On Up With The Jeffersons" what with the visual imagery on the CD cover, the numerous references to clouds, the sun, and the stars and the soaring melodic shoegaze-flaked popwerpop of The Red Velvet.

Comparing it against their six-song eponymous EP from two years ago, there's been some subtle changes in their output. Where the EP had more synth, effects, and piano, "Lights" is an hour of solid guitar-based rock with killer backing vocals and harmonics. With a little of all that other stuff thrown in too. The band has definitely taken a step up with this effort.

"Lights" starts off with the more mellow "Above The Clouds" and "Chasing The Sun" (which is really the title track) bookending a re-recorded "Tonight" off the EP. Off to a good start.

The rock (and the tempo) picks up with songs like "Better Side Of Nowhere," "Today," "Odyssey" and "Useless" -- some of our faves in that list. Highly charged rock, it be, with some lovelorn lyrics sprinkled in there, as Jefferson says "I'm so useless when you are not around," over and over again.

For anybody who had heard Sinks of Gandy, Fox's earlier project, you'll likely recognize the whispery lo-fi vocals. Fox takes on an increased singing role on "Lights" and not just in the harmonics. His delivery contrasts nicely with those of Jordan and Jonathan Jefferson.

It sounds like Fox has taken Sinks and incorporated that (the vocals/shoegaze/elec. drum parts) into what The Red Velvet is doing, and that's cool. And while we would've liked to see them use the piano or synth more on this release, the songs are solid. And, they've rerecorded a few of the songs off the EP and placed them on "Lights" for listeners to hear.

We really liked the EP, and so we weren't really surprised to hear them. If we were just picking this CD up and were like "Oh okay it's gonna be a local band's first CD we'll see," having never heard The Red Velvet, we'd be blown away.

The band's tight triple-threat vocal delivery of Jordan, Jon and Fox helps to set this release apart from the EP. That, and the stripped-down or more guitar-driven sound. "Tiptoe" has some cool LFO-type effects over high-pitched riffage. Gives you the feeling of kind of taking off here.

The CD closes with the kind of haunting piano sound of "I Will Meet You There" -- a bit of a curveball at the end, but a nice way to end the CD.

But no, we really dig this band; their songs are well written and their sound is definitely unique in this here state. We're glad they do what they do, and you should definitely check them out.

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