The Veldt: The Shocking Fuzz of Your Electric Fur – The Drake Equation (Leonard Skully Records, 2016)
The Veldt are a soul infused shoegaze/dream-pop band hailing from Raleigh, North Carolina and New York City. Their first album was recorded in 1989 with Robin Guthrie but that album never saw the light of day. Their second album was recorded with Lincoln Fong (Moose) and was entitled Marigolds. This album was first released in 1992. After more releases, the band disbanded after their second full-length album came out in 1998. They eventually become Apollo Heights, but the band has returned as The Veldt in 2016 and released The Shocking Fuzz of Your Electric Fur: The Drake Equation EP. The band consists of identical twins Daniel (guitar, vocals) and Danny Chavis (guitar), Hayato Nakao (bass), and Marvin Levi (drums). Their brand of soulgaze infuses soulful vocals with sometimes fuzzy and sometimes spacey walls of sound. In the history of the shoegaze genre, there is no one quite like The Veldt and their comeback EP is nothing but extraordinary. Further, this ep was recorded with legendary dream-pop artist A.R. Kane who has had a sort of resurgence as well.
“Sanctified” kicks off the ep and the band instantly makes you feel like you are in the church of soul but playing Slowdive in the back room. The track starts out with a hip-hop style beat that is almost muffled and at about a minute in, the vocals kick in with a fuzzy wall of sound as a backdrop. Chavis channels early soul singers with a subtle ease and the backup singers come in as a glorious choir behind Chavis’ repeated crooning of “Hallelujah”. The track begins to fade out with synth sounds and a contemplative drone. “In a Quiet Room” begins with bright guitar and a mid-tempo, trip hop beat. The bass really creates a drone style floor as it cuts in and out. This is a heavily styled R&B composition but the notes played on guitar and bass are all long-form pieces, infusing the piece with an ambient flavor. The bridge has these beautiful tones floating around in it, giving it a dream-pop style.
“Token” has heavy synth at the beginning which plays an integral part in the rest of the track. Guitar soars in the background, swelling and going silent. Levi is an incredible drummer, throwing in wonderful accents here and there. The bridge on this piece goes more into an electronica direction with vibrating synths and a synth sounding guitar. Chavis sings a remarkable throwback soul track on vocals that infuse this larger piece with a pureness, making “Token” reminiscent of James Brown or early Ray Charles. This isn’t your current cliché top 40 soul but something deeper and more abiding. “One Day Out of Life” is a longer composition with swirling guitars and deep bass. The synth work on this has beautiful cascading sounds and organ textures. The ambience throughout the piece is otherworldly and embraces the best of Eno mixed with heavy reverb and delay. There is also a deeply melancholy feel here as the minimal percussion thumps under the swirling soundscape. “And It’s You” has a deep, groovy beat with the vocals coming in a higher, falsetto register. Cocteau Twins-esque guitars burst out of the speakers to give it a dreamy atmosphere. There are moments where the guitars overpower the vocals and sink them deep in a dense wall of sound. “And It’s You” is a great finale to this newly welcomed EP.
The Veldt have come back on the scene with a brilliant EP. The Shocking Fuzz of Your Electric Fur: The Drake Equation is an incredible comeback for this band. It is an inventive blend of soul, R&B, shoegaze, and ambient music that should get anyone who listens regularly to those genres excited. The Veldt are back and in rare form and I cannot wait to hear what they do next.