Exit Music Review SectionMusic Review Navigation Menu
The Vells

(Luckyhorse Industries)

Vells is a four-piece group out of the upper Northwest that has the upper Northwest written all over it. Members of the group include members of Red Stars Theory as well as Jeremiah Green of Modest Mouse. It was produced by Phil Ek, the overseer of many great albums that originated from the area, and it just sort of has the feel of an album that came out of the region. That latter part is a bit hard to explain, but you'll understand if you hear the release.

One interesting thing about the group is that it takes all of the above sounds, as well as a healthy dose of retro rock and roll (think 50s, there's not an ounce of garage rock revival on here) and stirs it all up into an excellent little debut of 6 tracks and just over 20 minutes. "Light On The Right" opens the album with light vocals from Tristan Marcum and a rather workmanship track that rocks ever so nice and tidy, even bouncing in a nice piano melody around the close of the track. "Blue, Blue Bones" follows with what is easily the catchiest track on the entire album, full of jangley guitars and just a bit of gritty keyboards underpinned by a bouncy rhythm section.

"Starlights Our Way" continues the fun pop flow of the release, and Marcum's vocals again soar over some stompy guitar riffs and some handclaps. Based on the first three tracks, one could almost say that the group has drawn as much inspiration from Roy Orbison as any of the groups that they were in previously. "In Sunless Seas" changes things up a bit, taking the group down a slightly darker road as guitars fuzz out in minor chords and the track marches on slowly before dissolving.

The final two tracks on the disc hop back into more of a similar style to the first three, and it seems to be the one that the group is most comfortable with. At some moments, they almost resemble a stripped-down version of the New Pornographers, but their arrangements don't quite stack up (there's a few less hooks to hang your hat on). Regardless, though, it's a fun little disc and if you're in the mood for some retro-influenced pop, you'll definitely find a breezy little listen here.

Rating: 7