Album Review: The Velvet Teen – “All Is Illusory”

The Velvet Teen
All Is Illusory
(Topshelf Records)

The Velvet Teen were one of last decades great underdogs in creating very interesting indie rock. 2006’s Cum Laude, was a great batch of adventurous, twinkly indie that felt very much of its time and also ahead of its time. So a great way to keep that momentum going is to wait nine years to release your next batch of tunes. All Is Illusory is the band’s fourth record, and it shows off a band who is still happy to mess around with its core epic sound, to occasionally great and mostly unfortunate results.

“Sonreo” and “Pecos” are wonderful batches of post-Radiohead rock, with amazing musicianship and heartfelt lyrics. Likewise, “Eclipses” is a great, propulsive grungy tune that shows off Judah Nagler’s unique vocals. While there are other great tunes, it’s a remarkably uneven album. “Manifest” plays around with a vocoder to poor results. The title track is a boring piano ballad, and well, the rest of the album just sort of exists. “Church or State” has a neat part two minutes into the track, and “The Giving In” is fine enough, but this mostly just feels like the opposite of a comeback. Despite a promising start to the record, All Is Illusory feels like a portent for the album itself. It’s a shame, really. (Nicholas Senior)

Purchase All Is Illusory here.

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One Response

  1. I really like Manifest… It’s probably my favorite song on the album. Overall, the album is a bit underwhelming, but I think the thing with TVT is that the vocals are always hard to understand but if you pick up the album sleeve and actually understand what he is singing, it’s kind of amazing (usually heart-breaking and beautiful). Musically, they’ve been more adventurous before so this was a bit tame… But I think the vocoder is really good and works here! Sorry, replying in 2017 but I just found this review haha.

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