Capturing the essence of an era is a daunting task. Carving your own modern niche from it can be even tougher, as there is always the trap of leaning too far into it. Velodrone avoids this handily in their self-titled debut album. From start to finish, this album is packed with an eclectic charm that leverages ’90s rock nostalgia into their own style. By the end of the brain scramble, you’ll want to do it again.
The first track, “Love Race,” is packed with grunge charm. The wails of the guitar and the plucks of the bass do a great job of cradling the emerging vocals. The soft vocals are full of emotion that becomes palpable during the chorus. When vocalist Marisa Dewa howls “I would have sold my soul and died for you” the follow up hits like a heavy bass drum when she says “but now it’s over.” It feels like a love letter to the 90’s grunge rock era, from the creeping instrumentals to the haunting vocals, and is a great way to start the album.
“Harvest Moon” is another stand-out track. The wails of the guitar are psychedelic as they bring you into the track before the drums hit hard and break down the guitar. The change-ups between the two styles in this track feel smooth and ride in on the writhing distortion of the guitar, while the percussion offers an undeniable pulse to the track to keep it all grounded. The vocals are once again smooth as butter and full in this track. The emotion is palpable in lines such as “Do you feel me when you dream? Can I be heard, my prayers seen?” This is a fantastic track that you will find hard to listen to just once.
“Reality” is another track worth mentioning. It’s a hard-rocking track that will make your head bang from the start. It will continue to nod with the slams of the drums and the groove of the distorted guitar. The grunge aesthetic is perfectly executed in this track, right down to the vocals that creep across it. Lines such as “And now I’m still searching, in all the little places in between” are smooth and full of emotion, which radiates that 90’s era grunge melancholy.
Velodrone’s self-titled album is a fantastic first showing, from start to finish. The album does a great job of awakening the spirit of ’90s rock of all kinds, but leans heaviest into the grunge element and makes it their own. Tracks such as Reality stick with you and are hard to listen to only once, feeling like instant classics and radio hits. This album is an absolute must-listen to any fan of ’90s rock and anyone looking for a new rock album as well. Velodrone doesn’t just wrap you in nostalgia, they take control of it and make it their own which is something you must hear to believe.