Album Review: Principium by Velvet Elevator

Here’s a band who are properly setting out their stall with their name. In one sense ‘Velvet Elevator’ tells you all you need to know about this tree piece with the fuzzy avant garde of the Velvet Underground and the sublime psychedelic otherness of the 13th Floor Elevators. It is certainly the case that this band from Wollongong in Australia embrace the sound and aesthetics of both these pillars of the psych temple. Yet they also take it farther than that encompassing in the likes of Hawkwind and Black Sabbath on the way and, get this, fans of The Heads are absolutely going to lose their shit over this band.

When I was listening to this for the first time the opening ‘Prelude’ gave me a completely false impression of what this album was all about. My first reaction was that it was a little bit techno as the track got underway. Nothing wrong with that, but it was soon subsumed by something all together more fuzzy and psychedelic as the feedback faded away and I got hit like a train with the first full-length track ‘The Boa’…

Well as you can here there this is one massive mother of a track which just melts your face and then starts wrapping itself around your skull in a manner that is so intrusive that you almost feel defiled. From there on in Velvet Elevator have got you exactly where they want you, and the heavy fuzzy dirge that is ‘Children of the Sun (Parts I-III)’ takes you off on some apocalyptic path (the album is broadly based around the biblical Book of Revelation) which in places reminded me of the similarly prophetic ‘Texas Jerusalem Crossroads’ by Lift to Experience, although the third part in particular should only be classified as FULL ON RAWK as far as I’m concerned.

From there ‘Revelation’ segueing into ‘The Blood Moon Prophecy’ can only really be described as the band totally going off on one… there is such freedom to this track in the way that Velvet Elevator just totally let rip. For me they have certainly saved the best until last, and this is the sort of thing I would be wanting if The Heads did ever decide to do more new music. The intensity here is that of, well have a listen here…

This release from Cardinal Fuzz kind of slipped under the radar for me, but I’m glad that I detected it because, frankly, it’s bloody ace; just the sort of high octane fuzz box of delights that clears the head and leaves you feeling more sane, if a little bit dirty, afterwards. C’mon!

‘Principium’ is available now from Cardinal Fuzz here, or if you’re in Australia direct from the Velvet Elevator bandcamp here and Oracle Records here.



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