Velcro Hooks – Gymnophoria (Howling Owl Records)
Release Date – 10th December 2012
|Velcro Hooks - Gymnophoria|
Let me tell you this right now: If Velcro Hooks were American they would already be massive. However, they are from Bristol and, as yet, massiveness still awaits them. Breaking it down, Velcro Hooks have concocted the perfect mix of melodies, hooks, edge, quirk, snarl and swagger which they serve up on a thin plate that teeters dangerously on the line between the perfect rock’n’roll song and utter, shambolic chaos. These guys have obviously listened to a lot of Pixies but then there’s At The Drive In, Mudhoney, early Kings Of Leon, Hot Hot Heat and Black Rebel Motorcycle Club. Opening track ‘A Love Song for T.S. Eliot’ is all Black Francis vocals and detuned guitars but then an infectious, Iggy Pop chorus bursts through the static and it all makes perfect and exhilarating sense. ‘Wasabi Colonel’ (great track name) though is an absolute belter and proves without a shadow of a doubt that these guys are no one trick pony. This is music for alternative U.S. low budget movies featuring geeks rising up against the jocks and probably a cheerleader over dosing on sleeping pills at some point. If these guys ever get the chance to use their music on such a film then ‘Wildman’ will be the soundtrack to a comedy montage where the geeks run amok in the frat house with a variety of ingenious but improbable booby traps – like a Kevin Smith directed version of Home Alone.
At exactly the halfway point of this 7 track EP (mini album or EP? Discuss.) comes the truly mental ‘The Prerogative Of Daniel Porter’, a piece of Dickensian style spoken word played over a backing track of a drunken honky-tonk Piano. It’s two minutes of disconcerting and discombobulating stuff that serves to cleanse the pallet before the quartet hit you with the tune the Vaccines wish they’d written, ‘Girlfren’. A shouty, pulsating, aggressive little number make no mistake and features the line “Since when was solitude my best friend?” which is sure to get outcasts across the world identifying with these guys. Weirdly, ‘Yesterday’s Men’ starts off like Snow Patrol or Joshua Tree-era U2 and is probably the weakest track on the EP but it does hint to the fact that these Bristolians have the potential to write big, stadium sized songs which they are surely going to need in the not too distant future. It redeems itself slightly towards the end by going all Arcade Fire on us but it still doesn't quite fit in with the edginess of the rest of this EP somehow. Fret not though, closing track ‘Grandpa, No’ is the tune that didn't quite make In Utero and at over 6 minutes long it’s a big fat slice of grungy distorted fun that is the perfect way to end this collection. According to the press release, Velcro Hooks are the buzz band in Bristol right now and on this evidence I am, for once, inclined to take a press release on its word. These guys really are something of a find so give them a listen and you might be able to help them achieve the aforementioned massiveness.
17th November 2012 – EP Launch at the Driving School, Bristol