“Easy rider, come and take me higher”. When the world seemingly crumbles around, music can provide an escape few other mediums can. For their debut self-titled LP, Velour effortlessly levitate you above the madness below, each track taking a new turn, cruising over hazy flecked skylines, bustling walkways and bleary eyed bedlam. A trajectory that takes in all of jazz’s vibrancies, blending elements of neo soul, broken beat and hip hop coupled with a much-needed sense of hope across nine deep, soul-searching tracks released via WOLF Music Recordings.
A style and sound taking influence from genres and moods, environments and experiences, Essen-based Velour stretch their legs for this, their first full length album. From the off, they nestle you under their wing with the rustling sax washes of opener ‘CLP’ before diving into an epic slo-mo burner, swooping down into the chaos as singer, Eva Czaya, wistfully narrates the scenes beneath.
Unafraid to shift pace within songs, the likes of ‘Pose’, sauntering from soulful summer groove into woozy late night affair, and ‘Tom's Garage’, that progresses from roadside recounting to grungy basement blowout, finished with a sample of jazz-tinged dusty beats, show that accomplished and adept heads rest on the shoulders of these relative newcomers.
WOLF Music mainstay Mr Fries continues to head up production for Velour, his trademark touch capturing the intimacy of Velour’s sound presenting it in a way that’s considered yet raw - nothing feeling rushed, nor cluttered. A separation and space that gives each element the room it deserves to breathe, with short interludes and skits providing the perfect bridge between tracks, guiding you through smokey jazz bars and twilight whisperings.
Moving through the album, Czaya at points wanders in a serene spoken dialogue, at others letting her voice loose, but always with an ethereal demeanour that comes off with natural ease. One of many highlights, ‘Anthony Davis’ shows off this celestial prowess whilst perfectly embodying Velour’s dream-like escapism. A pent up release of creativity, as moody bass tones mix with deft keys, rolling snares sit behind swirling saxophones.
The journey ends with ‘Luminate’, a transcendent closer laced with space-echoed vocals that reverberate around over-driven Rhodes and feverish drums. Cymbals crash, as modulated synths rise, building and building before easing you off into the night and on your way to a parallel universe.
As a body of work, ‘Velour’ is a shining example of the freedom, energy and enthusiasm of the new school of jazz that’s been captivating minds the world over. An instant on repeat staple - let go, feel the flow, it’s what we need in a time like this.
STAFF COMMENTSPatrick says:
Wolf switch things up a little from their trademark dancefloor fare as Velour wow us with their groove-laden take on new school jazz. Cool AF!
A2. Pose (skit)
A4. Tom's Garage
A5. Anthony Davis
B1. Into The Blue
B2. Among The Popular Attractions