Reviews

Published on April 11th, 2006 | by Hans Fruck

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Velure – Care for Fading Embers

51wPzIpjB9L(Shock Records)

There’s a certain inevitability to the fact that a trip-hop band will be compared to Portishead. But in the case of local band Velure and their second album, Care for Fading Embers, it’s an apt comparison.

Like Portishead did on their landmark album Dummy, Velure marry a smoky-dive sensibility to slick studio production. They also share the Bristol band’s penchant for a vinyl-like crackle and cinematic lashings of atmosphere. And like any self-respecting trip-hop band, Velure have a female singer (has a trip-hop band ever had a male singer?).

The CD gets off to a patchy start with Music from Outside, which is reprised on the last track. It’s an odd choice for opening number, as it’s dominated by clicks and sound effects that don’t settle into a satisfying melody or rhythm, and don’t complement the vocals. However, the CD starts to hit its stride with Do You Suppose?, which showcases the best things about Velure: syrupy beats punctuated by dramatic, soundtracky bursts of strings, with sexy vocals laid over the top.

Words to Speak brings together an eclectic suite of sounds, combining an Eastern jangle with a dub beat, which sounds like an odd mixture, but works a treat. With Hide the Fool (a bit reminiscent of Mono), the CD changes down into an injured, melancholy song with an unexpected and lush violin end. This track and the two that follow, Down Again and Define Love (which has cool brass flourishes), showcase Lynnelle Moran’s vocals. She can’t match the sublime theatrics or strange phrasing and inflections of Beth Gibbons, but she’s a fine singer all the same, switching effortlessly between the languid chanteuse thang of Down Again and the anguished delivery and fine control of Define Love and Hide the Fool.

As its name suggests, Care for Fading Embers is perfect accompaniment to gray days and bitter memories. You might not warm to it immediately – it may be too spiky and demanding for that – but stick with it. You won’t regret it.

— Hans Fruck


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