Welcome to the musical meandering insights of Aaron Joy. Here you'll find 600 reviews of CDs & DVDs of rock & metal in all its variations, mainstream & indie. What they all share is that the album or band is unique in some way & not every submission was reviewed. Please share these reviews or link to them if you like what you read. Reviews are no longer being posted here but feel free to e-mail Aaron & post comments. (Formerly the Roman Midnight Music Blog) (last update 5/23/2017)

June 26, 2011

Codeine Velvet Club ~ Codeine Velvet Club (aka debut)

(Click on heading to visit official website.)
Style: Scottish, retro rock, alt rock, experimental
Label: Dangerbird Records
Year: 2010
Home: Glasgow, Scotland (disbanded)

Members: Jon Lawler ~ guitar/bass/vocals

Lou Hickey ~ vocals

Additional: Ross McFarlane, Affy Ahmad ~ drums

Helen MacLeod ~ harp
Gospel Truth Choir ~ b. vocals
Lewis Gordon, Ed McFarlane ~ bass
Mick Cooke, Derek Watkins ~ trumpet
Mark Nightingale ~ trombone
Allan Cuthbertson, Will Foster ~ keyboards

For some years, spearheaded by such groups as the loony but well-received Squirrel Nut Zippers & Buster Poindexter, there's been an revival in mixing Big Band jazz, cabaret & dance with a rock flair. Scotland's Codeine Velvet Club took the cabaret/jazz feeling but opted to shy away from the retro campiness & create something somewhat new ... in the same way that fellow boy/girl team the White Stripes make old blues riffs sound new. In their single release, that failed to immediately ignite the charts with long term promotion lost due to the band splitting after three years together to pursue solo careers, pulls together the lyrical spirit of Barry Manilow with a Big Band setting against alt rock arrangements. At times the music sounds like lazy day on a river with a mariachi band in the distance (i.e. "Time"), at other times it intones the same retro as the Squirrel Nut Zippers with more guitars than horns (i.e. "Vanity Kills", "The Black Roses") while at other moments is big ol' Broadway a la Manilow (i.e. "Hollywood"). Codeine Velvet Club is a fusion roller-coaster of styles that recall a spirit of music long gone ... but if Hollywood still made musicals regularly Marlene Dietrich would be happy to sing these tunes. The rotating vocals of Jon Lawler & his muse Lou Hickey add a lot to the variety. They aren't vocal powerhouses, the White Stripes come again to mind along with Icky's Ego, but it adds to keeping the music casual instead of pretentious or comical. It's almost a shock that CVC's mix of guitars & horns didn't catch on with the public more than a few blips, particularly with some great videos & not a bad track on the album. Has the music listening populace gotten so shallow it doesn't recognize great creative music anymore?

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