Add a bit of The Strokes, a sprinkle of The Libertines, and blend it with the rebellious energy of The Sex Pistols, and you get The Velvet Hands. The Cornish indie band have returned with their new single This Feeling. Their critically acclaimed debut album Party’s Over became Hew Stephen’s Radio 1 Album of the Week, and Radio X’s John Kennedy declared that ‘Every single they’ve released is an instant hit so far’. The band, originally from Cornwall, have recently returned from performing with Gorillaz-hating anorak-wearer Liam Gallagher, and have completed a 5 date UK tour, 3 of which sold out completely. Their highly anticipated second album is on the horizon.
Party’s Over is a charmingly raw and gritty project, it feels pure, and has a rough, paint-stripper soul which harkens back to The Damned when they punched everyone in the nose with their single New Rose. It has that magic which most modern recording studios and high-end mixing equipment can’t quite produce – a reminder of the unfiltered, youthful energy that first albums can bring (see: Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not by The Arctic Monkeys, Debut by Björk, literally anything by Odd Future). Stand out songs include Only Blame Myself, and I Don’t Mind, both of which embody the band’s young spirit and unapologetic vigour, as well as showing their promising potential for the future – yet retaining this bright-spark vitality whilst refining their sound into something distinct is something many new artists have tried, but failed.
Which brings us to This Feeling, which makes a bloody good go of it. In only 2 minutes and 30 seconds, the single manages to capture the essence of what makes indie great; the snappy drum fills, the all-important tambourine in the middle eight, and the angsty, slurring falsettos that, for some strange reason, reminds me of Adam and the Ants (more specifically, the chorus in Stand and Deliver). It’s already a song you can imagine closing an energetic set at a festival. Reminiscent of Idles’ Danny Nedelko or even Iggy Pop’s Lust for Life, it is clear where their inspirations lie. A genre that is often recycled, The Velvet Hands manage to capture a sense of familiarity, whilst also dodging the boredom that dilutes many modern indie singles, making them undifferentiable. However, sitting on the fine line between nostalgic and old-fashioned, it will be interesting to see if their new album will tip over the edge and fall into boring. or bring a new sound altogether. In order to stay relevant, they’re going to have to up their game, have some variation, and discover the thing that truly sets them apart from everyone else, because nowadays being loud and exciting won’t meet the standard on its own.
Following the release of This Feeling, I was offered the opportunity to talk to the band about the single, performing with Liam Gallagher, and what fans can expect from their upcoming album. Unfortunately, once I agreed to meet with them for an interview, they had pissed off to sunny Manchester so I didn’t get to see their lovely faces in person, so we relied on the wonders of modern technology instead. With such brief, vague answers, it’s safe to say that they are keeping their cards to the chest, and are reluctant to reveal too much about the future. It may just be the case that these guys are no-nonsense, right-to-the-point, tell-you-what-you-need-to-know, quit-bugging-me artists who don’t care to ramble and let their music speak for itself. That, or they’re a bit crap at interviews.
Firstly, thank you so much for joining me to answer a couple of questions! Of course your new single embodies the youthful, rebellious energy of your last album, but was the writing process for the new album different to the last?
I think we’ve progressed as songwriters, we used to be afraid to use certain things in the studio too. Like guitar pedals, for example.
In the past, you have been compared to indie icons such as The Strokes, but who would you say inspired the new album, and what can fans expect from the upcoming release?
I think the new stuff has more of a late 70s rock/punk vibe, maybe a bit of post punk sprinkled in. So expect high energy, straight to the point tunes!
Performing in support of Liam Gallagher is a feat some indie bands can only dream of, how was that as an experience? Did it feel massively different to some of your past concerts?
It was brilliant. Had the SUVs with blacked out windows taking us around, which is always nice! Obviously it was huge, so I think it was one of the only shows we’ve been nervous at in ages.
After the album release in May, do you have any plans for future projects?
Just gonna keep on writing and touring, the foolhardy technique.
And finally, if you could collaborate with any artist, living or dead, who would it be?
Thank you so much for taking the time to speak with CUB magazine!
Thanks for having us guys.
For more news on their upcoming album, or to listen to their new single ‘This Feeling’, make sure to visit velvethands.co.uk.