Velvet Starlings Bring Back the Sound of the Summer of Love, With ‘Karmic Lemonade’

We may be trapped indoors(ish), but the summer of ’67 is just a track away…

Going to sleep any time before 2 am hasn’t sat well with me for quite a while. The stillness of the night is entrancing, as you survey a world uninterrupted by the nuisance of other people (ew). The earliest moments of the day have become my preferred time to be productive, and nowadays that means listening to new music. Enter journalism, and moments later I’m discovering some fantastic new psych-rock.


As a quick note, I should warn you that I’m listening through some rather retro EarPods, so chances are I’ve missed half the nuance of the song.


What I can hear, however, is how aggressively ‘60’s this track is. Did someone ask for Hammond Organ? It’s a sound we really haven’t heard that much recently, and I really am wondering why it’s so side-lined.


The sound isn’t all stand-out, (what some may call) gimmicks, however. Clap-along trashy snares, creamily fuzzy guitars, and punchy bass guitar all give that distinct psychedelic sound, from way before it meant spacey electro. Even the cover looks like it could be from the late sixties or early seventies. Velvet Starlings sure are committed to this vibe.


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The sound continues straight through into the vocal performance too. Singer Christian Gisbourne has exactly the tone for this – I’d almost liken it to a less mellow Ray Davies, ‘You Really Got Me’ style. A bit of gravel, but nowhere near the more contemporary Cobain levels of hoarse.


On the topic of vocals, lyrics sure are a thing that exists. The first line of the chorus is the one that hits most – a strongly projected cry of ‘so tell me how you like it now’ over a rapidly peaking drum fill beautifully picks up the pace. Even better, it’s a good summary of the general theme of the song, of turning to an ex now that you’re in a better relationship and seeing just how far they’ve fallen. It may not be kind, but it’s catchy and I imagine relatable.


My only real recommendation? Put a ‘the’ at the start of the band name. The Velvet Starlings. More The Velvet Underground than Velvet Revolver, just like the music. Kinda.


What I can say with absolute certainty, even at the heady hour of 1:13 am as my tea runs low, is that these guys sound fantastic, and from video, evidence look to put on a great live show. Now, if only we weren’t in the midst of a pesky pandemic…


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