9-VOLT VELVET – Riptide / Hey Candy

With their layers of fuzz and a relentless garage rock core, 9-Volt Velvet are capable of conveying an impressive amount of energy. The band’s own take on a retro sound is immediately familar, but isn’t just reliant on mere recycling, and between the more traditional elements of noise, the two tracks that make up this release also share an impressive, almost quirky edge that has the potential to set them apart from their peers.

The core of ‘Riptide’ sounds like a spirited throwback to the 90s, but the way 9-VV deliver those riffs still has a relevance at time of release in 2024. The punky approach applied to a shoegaze-ish mood is instantly impressive – and likeable – but the arrangement also comes loaded with an abrasive, almost bell like percussive sound that punctuates the noise throughout. It’s a simple touch, but one that lifts the dirty melody, whilst the featured vocal – which comes half buried – is happy to latch onto a more traditional musical trope, often flaunting a love for classic Jesus & Mary Chain and A Place To Bury Strangers. In and out in under three minutes, this is a track that doesn’t hang around and has no time for padding, but it really didn’t need to do much more. This is top tier shoegaze/garage punk that catches the ear in an instant.

‘Hey Candy’ shares a similarly relentless approach to a riff, but delights in taking a very different musical path. The distortion is present and correct; the fuzzy vocal, again, settles into something worthy of the finest garage based noise, but the general swagger shared throughout casts the band in the unexpected role of fuzz-obsessed rockers dabbling with heavy 70s glam vibes. Some listeners might hear traces of Black Rebel Motorcycle Club; others, a faint love for the earlier Black Pistol Fire, but whichever way you approach the song, it shares a strong DNA with other 9-Volt Velvet tunes that have surfaced, giving potential fans more of a reason to love this still emerging band.

These two tracks are a great addition to the band’s catalogue, and somehow sound even better as part of their parent album ‘Nude Beaches’, where 9-Volt Velvet hammer their way through eleven tracks in a little over twenty three minutes, giving several punk bands a run for their money. If you haven’t yet discovered these guys, you owe it to yourselves to investigate ASAP. Although the fuzzy garage rock scene sometimes feels a little oversubscribed, these underground heroes will certainly remind you that there’s always room for a few more fuzz wielders and distortion dealers…and of how, when done absolutely right, garage rock just never gets old.

April 2024