Formed 1989 in Rhode Island, Velvet Crush may not be the best-selling band on the block, but they’ve sure collected a loyal fan following throughout the world. As well, music journalists have always wisely acknowledged their good work.
Produced by noted musician and knob kneader Mitch Easter, Teenage Symphonies To God (Sony Music Entertainment) marked Velvet Crush’s second full-length effort. The title of the disc was hijacked from Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys, who back in 1967 used such a description in regards to the songs he was penning and recording for the group’s proposed SMiLE album.
Having established themselves as a rough-hewn power pop band with their previous platter, In The Presence Of Greatness, Velvet Crush continues to exercise the idiom on Teenage Symphonies To God, but in a more refined manner.
On tracks like “My Blank Pages,” “Something’s Gotta Give” and “Hold Me Up,” the guitars cackle and chime with buoyancy, the drums maintain a hard and steady beat and the vocals and harmonies vibrate with vitality and velocity. The sound is thick and dense, while the hooks and breaks are direct and immediate.
Blooming with emotion, “Faster Days” and “Time Wraps Around You” float and flutter to the rhapsodic rhythms of bright and breezy melodies and artfully conceived structures and arrangements, where both “Keep On Lingerin’” and a cover of Gene Clark’s “Why Not Your Baby” add a nice traditional country angle to the record.
Every single cut on Teenage Symphonies To God pedals the point home with its own special qualities accented by tightly knit songwriting and potent instrumentation. Splashed with earnest expressions, here’s an album that still rings fresh and relevant after all these years. Tagged as the missing link between the Byrds and Big Star, with sprinklings of the Who and Cheap Trick thrown in for mettle measure, Teenage Symphonies To God pops and rocks with clarity and integrity.