I was a bit of a Ric Menck, Paulie Chastain fan boy back in the early 90's. I loved their twee pop bands Choo Choo Train, and the Springfields (amongst others). Velvet Crush was the moment when they stopped messing about in flowerbeds and decided to rock. Therefore my younger self was a bit horrified but if you like Big Star and Teenage Fanclub there's much to enjoy here.
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I loved Ric Menck and Paulie Chastain's early twee-pop groups Choo Choo Train, the Springfields and if you haven't heard the latter's solo LP 'Halo' then...well you should.
So I was pretty excited when in 1991 they got together with guitarist Jeffrey Borchardt (of Honeybunch) to form Velvet Crush but then was left horrified by the rocking nature of the combo. In truth they were not much more rocking than Teenage Fanclub but this was a major slap in the face for those of us who loved them as a Hollies fixated jangle pop outfit who seemed to like nothing more dangerous than flowers. "Judas!" I shouted at them at their gig at Newcastle Polytechnic but it had no effect. They went their way, I went mine.
Listening to their debut now, it's a lively piece of work with energetic Keith Moon drumming and Paul Chastain's lovely husky high pitched voice just audible above the din. The problem being...well the guitar playing. This was 1991, wah-wah was in fashion, John Squire was plotting his next move and guitarist Borchadt plays the guitar hero throughout, obliterating the unique quirkiness of the songs. This is most notable on Ash & Earth - dear God that wah-wah. The band go full pelt, enthusiastically full speed here but it's too much in awe of the sounds around at the time and less them doing their own thing.
Brilliantly this came out on Creation and you can imagine Alan McGee loving this, proclaiming it the future of rock and roll or such bollocks but he was wrong about most things and he was wrong about this. Frustrating though because the Menck/Chastain combo had been truly effective before they got their heads turned.
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