When the opening track on an album is titled How to Start a Revolution, there’s a certain expectation insinuated; perhaps that of exhilaration and anarchy. The opening track on Some Velvet Morning’s debut album, Allies does not fail to deliver on that. The album opens with an instantly catchy and raw bass riff and thumping drums which give way to front man Des Lambert proclaiming “I made myself an institution from all the books I read. How to start a revolution from the bottom of a garden shed”. It’s an impressive track to open with and the lyrical progression throughout the song is great, beginning from reference to a friends’ garden shed where the band used to practice and opening up to a global sense with mention of Fidel Castro and Guantanamo Bay which illustrate the revolutionary aspects of the song. The three piece indie rock band set high expectations for the rest of the album and while those expectations are touched upon at times throughout the album they are never completely grasped.
Some Velvet morning are comprised of two brothers from North London, Des and Gavin Lambert and drummer Rob Flanagan. The band is signed to the My Record Company label who operate through funding from fans. It’s a model that has already proven successful in France whereby the fans invest in a band which allows them to have a say in the future direction of the band. It’s somewhat of a revolutionary approach in itself however none of this would work if it weren’t for the end result and Some Velvet Morning have delivered a strong debut album.
The most prominent influences are 80s synth-pop and U2. Songs like don’t think and NY City Cell have an unmistakable U2 echo to them with fantastic vocals from Des and the epic ringing guitar riffs Gavin. Rob’s drumming influences are salient throughout the record, particularly on songs such as Beautiful Dress where the galloping drum rhythm owes reference to Ringo’s drumming on The Beatles song ‘Get Back’.
National Valentine illustrates the bands creativity well as there is an ambiguous structure to the song, Rob’s drums and the exalting guitar riffs intertwine well to create a quite beautifully unpredictable song. Des’s vocal talents are undeniable on this song too and make it impossible not to feel somewhat elated as a result. The title song on the album, Allies was original a small acoustic number intended for the end of the album however Gavin’s input developed more of a chorus and has seen the song become one of the standout tracks on the album. It’s an instantly captivating song that will leaving you singing along to it hours later.
Some Velvet Mornings debut album represents the bands sound well. Des’s vocal talents are present throughout and the “Ooh” and “Aaah’s” in the backing vocals add to the enjoyment that the elating guitar riffs create. How to Start a Revolution is a great opening to the album however the preceding tracks are distinctly different, there’s a far more 80’s synth/U2 rock sound evident throughout the rest of the album. However this is not a negative remark on the album as it only serves to display the bands diverse influences and talents. All in all the sound of the album is great and there are numerous standout tracks.
By Tony Connelly