Review: The Velvets ‘Drinking, Fighting, Thinking’ EP

Living in a time when it’s becoming increasingly harder to start and maintain any sort of musical career, especially without summoning the power of the internet to propel and push your product, it can feel like a daunting task. The age of making a band with friends, getting out there and playing any old shit hole that will have you is worryingly becoming a thing of the past. 

The Velvets 'Drinking, Fighting, Thinking' Artwork
The Velvets ‘Drinking, Fighting, Thinking’ Artwork

Even bigger, long-established bands are now accepting their fates, and calling time on what may well feel like a constant uphill struggle. Unless you are being backed by a massive conglomerate or are lucky enough to find some level of fame, even through the briefest of timeframes, thanks to time wasting websites, the odds of enjoying a long life as an artist is diminishing further and further as the years are passing.

For those brave enough to still want to fight for the cause and power on, it has become a perilous task, filled with long hours, punishing timescales and a depleted bank account just to strive and get your voice heard. You have to admire any artist for being brave enough to battle the odds and force their art into the world, knowing the pitfalls and having a ‘fuck you’ spirit to the gamble involved.

One such band are The Velvets, a dynamic new band coming straight out of The Netherlands, ready to embrace the challenge and smash right through any obstacles that get in their way.

The trio, Iggy Pieters, Jarik Wagenaar, and Mart Doeven are on a crusade to expel the mundane and reinvigorate a music scene. They have a DIY ethic and volatile rhythms which breathe a whole new life in to the world of punk rock, with a fair splattering of stoner rock thrown in for good measure.

Coming across like the bastard offspring of Kyuss, Corrosion Of Conformity and Queens Of The Stone Age, the three twenty-somethings have spent the last couple of years honing their sound, and have recently managed to get some recordings together to release a five track EP entitled Drinking, Fighting, Thinking. It is the culmination of a lot of time together, playing live wherever possible and some incredible support slots with the likes of Hippie Death Cult.

As for the sound, it’s a composite of eclectic stoner, a smidge of punk rock and a healthy dose of garage to create an aural experience which has energy and urgency, while capturing the essence of several iconic bands who have come before them.

a composite of eclectic stoner, a smidge of punk rock and a healthy dose of garage to create an aural experience which has energy and urgency…

Of the five tracks, a couple are reworkings of older tracks, polished up and given a new lease of life, a couple of box fresh bangers and a closing track which sees the band creating a truly soulful outpouring, a sign of wisdom of sound and heritage which seems to be a real rarity in today’s music for sure.

EP opener Try shows the band at their most vibrant. With a chugging bass kickstarting things, it is swiftly followed by a vibrant guitar, and a swaggered vocal, before opening up into a face melting outpouring of energy. Insanely groovy and heavy with a driving ferocity to it, which perfectly showcases just how much energy and enthusiasm the band has.

Battery 5000 continues this heavy stoner party vibe and throws in a few surprises too. It’s this track where I feel the biggest pull towards Corrosion Of Conformity for comparison as it could so easily have graced any of that band’s late ‘90s or early ‘00s albums. Take Control pushes at the Kyuss vibes, and then some. It’s epically cool, without being a copy, more so a case of embracing the bones of an idea and building something new from it all.

With Goner the band stamp their signature sound on the whole opus. It’s hard, heavy and infectious. Dark and deadly is the overtone to it all, and this is a track which can only be fully appreciated at maximum volume. Each part is played magnificently, and it’s hard to comprehend that the band aren’t further into their career than they are, the sound is so rich and developed, it fills the space completely.

For me though, the standout moment is track five, Alone. This is such a chilled piece, full of soul and darkly mesmerising. Pieters’ vocal is so cool, moody, bluesy and smoky. The accompanying instrumentation is sublime, and as it breaks to the chorus, it’s just perfect and brings to mind something the Stone Temple Pilots would have written if shut in a room with Jimi Hendrix. It’s darkened room, with a glass of red wine kinda music, and for the EP, it leaves with a final nudge to just how good this band are.

Wise beyond their years, this is an accomplished EP for a band just starting out, and hopefully will be a signal for a resurgence in young bands wanting to get out there and prove that real music is still very much alive and hitting audiences. A true testimony to three young men with a ton of ability, now is the time to get on to The Velvets, as if they continue at this rate, they are going to be a big name real soon, putting a lot of mediocre shit firmly in its place.

Label: Independent
Band Links: Facebook | Bandcamp | Spotify | Instagram

Scribed by: Lee Beamish