The Velocet – A Quick And Dirty Guide To War
New York City always cranks out the “next big thing” in post-punk bands, probably more than any other place in the U.S. And now along comes The Velocet, another four-piece mining the early-1980s for buzzing guitars mixed with dancey beats.
The Velocet is led by Michael Davison on lead guitar, vocals and chief songwriting responsibility. They managed to hook up with producer D. James Goodwin to record their debut album A Quick And Dirty Guide To War. This album is tuneful with a serrated melodic edge, but ultimately as disposable as The French Kicks, Radio 4, and other NYC post-punk bands that never did anything new with the old formula.
“Chinatown” starts things off with a bang. A jagged guitar line introduces a song that takes you through a night in the life of a hipster in the Big Apple, from the late night loneliness and desperation to “shooting the pop junk.” It sounds like The Velocet are poking fun at the very scene that they’re a part of. “O Concertina”, the best song on the album, follows. It switches from a straightforward rock number to a new wave breakdown and ultimately provides the best chorus. It also brings Davison’s faux-English accent to the front of the mix, not a surprise when considering the band’s influences.
“Alone In Cologne” and “Coronation” are by-the-books rock songs, with “Coronation” showing a small Cure-ish, goth influence that tends to drag over its four-minute running time. “The Turnstiles” uncovers major new wave influences, as a ringing guitar line dances in and out of the heavy backbeat and Davison lays out the story of a darkening relationship.
By the XTC-copping “Ring Around The Room”, A Quick And Dirty Guide To War starts to get pretty repetitive. And that’s because there’s not much dynamic to it overall—just one beat-driven rock track after another.
If you like any of the buzz bands out of NYC or England over the last few years then give this a listen. If you want something that has a little more staying power, I’d recommend you look elsewhere. It’s really too bad too, because the guys playing in this band have some serious credentials in their past. Unfortunately, it’s the uniformity of the songwriting, not the musicianship, that makes this one a long listen.