Velvet Insane – ‘Self Titled’

Four piece rock from Ostersund, Sweden, Velvet Insane was born from the original band Pure Faith, after the tragic death of their manager. V.I. was an attempt to change direction, incorporating Jesper’s love of big choruses, melodies and riffs; the intention was to create a band larger-than-life. The inspiration for the band name came from working on song production in a factory for a day. Ultimate band chemistry was discovered in the combo of: Jesper Lindgren (guitarist and songwriter), Jesper Sandstrom (bass) and Jonas Eriksson (initially drums, evolving to vocals).

November 8, 2013 saw Jesper Lindgren hosting a ‘Stjarnfall’ gig, in memory of the late manager. It featured Nick Borge, of Backyard Babies, State Of Drama, author Anders Tengner and V.I., themselves. The gig secured V.I. widespread recognition, inspiring them to record new material, with the aim of recapturing the atmosphere of that event. The result was a meeting with Rock News magazine’s Sven Moren, who wrote an article about the band’s journey to success and eventually took over as band manager in February 2014. That year commenced with a North Sweden tour and highly acclaimed gigs in Falun and Stockholm. Production work on their new material continued and their debut EP was recorded in April of that year, in Esta Studios, in Stockholm and released in May, the same year.

Line-up changes took them back to Stockholm, where their official debut EP, ‘Youth On Fire’, was recorded and released internationally, on October 25, 2014. The EP’s release culminated in widespread awareness of the bands’ work and in autumn of 2015, they toured Japan and the UK. August 2016 saw them return to the studio, to record their self titled debut album. They then toured Spain and America. The start of 2017 launched an effective radio campaign, proving their readiness for that rock industry wide ubiquitous concept, world domination.

Break Out Of Eden – Really tasty rocky drum roll intro, rapid follow-up high-level vocals and riffs, slotting right in, with effortless flow. A hard to find combo of easy listening and flawless novel rock, with a classic vibe. Mood lifting stuff, for sure.

High On Love – Riffs introing, with a slight stoner/bluesy sense and a very agreeable sound. A real old school flavour permeates this and it carries that nostalgic feel, injecting immediate appeal and visual imagery, evoking a world of associated emotions. An elusive quality these days and one to be treasured.

Help Me – Plucky riff intro here, with a catchy chorus, again, holding that déjà vu thing, guaranteeing memorability. Really pleasant vocal harmonies, which’ll have you singing along, before long. It’s one of those tracks engendering jamming visions and general likeability.

Coffee, Jazz And Arts – Opening this time, with the most beautiful acoustic section, bringing a whole new mood into things. Incorporating string components and a unique lilt in the lyrics, it actually escapes briefly, into folky territory, reminiscent of Celtic music and film soundtrack. ‘Braveheart’ fans are bound to enjoy this. It’s quite simply lovely.

My Way Of Life Is You – Back to the rock again, yet keeping a slight folky edge to it, it’s got a nice slide to it. Nice catchy pace, easy to follow and audibly derivative, in a very positive way, of a classy mix of influences, such as blues, folk, rock, with a slight and very favourable Gypsy tinge. It’s a warm cup of comfort, served in a cosy, rocky wrap-around.

Nottingman – Yummy heavier blues riff and drum intro here, upping the pace, speeding things up and changing the whole vibe, to a more casual, yet edgier mood. It’s got a great feel to it and it’s just so easy to like. Gorgeous guitar breakdowns in there and all the time, it seems to welcome you in, not just lyrically, but generally and you can’t help wanting to stay. It draws you in and makes you believe it.

Lincoln Rd – Oh now that Dylan-esque blues harmonica intro is just so striking and utterly magnetic. So much lyrical and vocal emotion, you can’t help but be moved by. It’s truly and awesomely beautiful. Somehow, that whole bass emphasis reminds me of The Stones ‘You Can’t Always Get What You Want’. It’s kind of like a rocked up rock ballad and I love it.

Infinity – Classically engineered timing, once again, there’s a completely seamless thread to it and it remarkably manages to blend several eras into one, bringing together 90s brit rock touches, with 50s/60s themed blues, rocky modern sections and a mysterious, magical essence, that brings them all together and wraps it up succinctly.

King Of The Foolish – Heavier terrain already, throwing down some sharper, electric riffs and hard-line drums; again, you could be in a present-day setting or a past one, introing you to the basis of classic rock and from there, it could move you into an obscure, psychedelic/prog flower power, trippy back stage lounge bar or Woodstock type gig and each time, you’d still be in the same song. It’s intensely interchangeable, in such a workable way and filled with flavour; finishing on a nicely timed reverb riff. I’ve now got Judas Priest’s ‘Revolution’ in my head. Mind bug territory, or what?

Six Steps Away – Real loveliness again. Fittingly gentle closer. Such moving lyrics and melody. Acoustic emotional offering, you actually feel the pleas behind the words. Including some tightly fitted riffs and gradually building momentum and volume, till it ends, on an increasingly distant fade-out riff. Sheer beauty.

Overall – Mesmerising, pleasantly haunting and magically escapist return to home.

9/10 *********

For fans of wide expanses of eclectic rock, from every era from 50s to present day. Blues, folk, psych, prog, hard rock or gypsy soul, stoner or soft rock – you’ll find something captivating here.


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