When I say that some of my favorite bands start with the letter V, I am not kidding. On FensePost, there are many reviews of Voxtrotâ€”a near comprehensive collection of their recorded works. One band, however, that I list among my favorites (pre-Voxtrot) and that you have likely not seen or heard until now is Seattle’s very own Vells.
While most groups write songs with hints of sadness and give them an upbeat instrumental backing, Vells do the opposite. The songs are happy, sometimes joyous, but the music itself is dark and often eerie. This dark side has remnants of The Legends circa Up Against The Legends, but with less pop. Both â€œIn The Hoursâ€ and â€œYour Burning Yardâ€ follow this general pattern while â€œForever Everâ€ is less like other Vells tracks and more like frontman Tristan Marcum’s side group, Psychic Emporer. It has more electronic house-style beats but continues with Marcum’s optimistic vocals.
The A-Side and title track can be found on their first full-length, Flight From Echo Falls. This album joins a few interesting, and somewhat unlikely characters: Marcum’s signature vibrato is endless and mixed with distortion; Jeremiah Green, who lends rhythm expertise, is better known for his work with Modest Mouse; and Darren Wiener of Plastiq Phantom. Including Mary Thinnes and Adam McCollom, minus Wiener, the group dropped their second full-length, Integretron.
For fans of Vells, In The Hours is a worthy investment if you can find it. Pressed on a limited 425 plastic discs, the single provides the listener with a good introduction to both the Vells and Psychic Emperor. In a way, you could liken it to a trio of artists, all who lend a member to the group: Psychic Emperor fronting a mash-up of Red Stars Theory meets early Modest Mouse.
This review was originally published August 9, 2006 on the old version of FensePost.
Luckyhorse Industries [7″ Single, 2005]
1. In The Hours
2. Your Burning Yard
3. Forever Ever