Best Albums You’ve Never Heard Of: Codeine Velvet Club @jonfratelli @LouHickey

Best Albums You’ve Never Heard Of: Codeine Velvet Club

Brief derail before I actually start: I think Codeine Velvet Club sounds like the kind of place where you would expect Andy Warhol and Lou Reed to be smoking a joint and laughing at people while they simultaneously had an intellectual conversation about the minutia of detail in the art design of various modern day bubble gum wrappers.

OK, but seriously, let’s try this again…

Best Albums You’ve Never Heard Of: Codeine Velvet Club

I have never stated as such on my blog before, but if you and I have talked music at length before you’ve probably heard me say more than once, “Jon Fratelli is single-handedly carrying the rock industry on his back!” While so many musicians are seemingly pandering to their audience, or going with the latest trend or whatever, Fratelli keeps recording straight up rock music. (and yes, I am aware that his name is Jon Lawler, but for ease of use I will continue to call him Fratelli) His music is immensely refreshing, and I look forward to his work either with the Fratellis or his solo endeavors. I usually keep a fairly good finger on the pulse of the musicians that I enjoy, but somehow I missed his collaboration with fellow Scottish musician Lou Hickey titled: Codeine Velvet Club.

Released in 2009, Codeine Velvet Club is a wonderful rock album that successfully merges cabaret, duet style vocals, brass and string arrangements with a touch of baroque rock. It is truly a delight to the senses. The band was short lived, only cutting this one self titled album, but what an album. There are no throw away tracks on the disc, and each song is unique, energetic and endlessly catchy. I may not have discovered them when it first released, but for the last 3 years I have kept this album on heavy rotation, as it has achieved “music for all occasions” status for me. Take a listen to the first track from the album: Hollywood

The production value is sterling and the breadth of sound that is achieved is fantastic. Each track is layered with sonic gifts just waiting for your ears to unwrap. Whether you enjoy a good guitar riff, a honking rowdy brass section, or sexy vocals, you are likely to find something to love with Codeine Velvet Club. The entire album, in many regards, feels like a throwback to the baroque rock music of the late 60s early 70s. Not so much a tribute album, as Hickey and Fratelli make the music their own, but more like a love letter to a style of music that has faded into obscurity. For a better impression of what I’m talking about, lend an ear to their fantastic duet, Reste Avec Moi:

As you can hear, there is a lot of playfulness and chemistry between the singers. They compliment each other perfectly. When you marry their vocals with the painstakingly planned instrumentation behind them, well you get that one of a kind Codeine Velvet Club experience. Whereas I have mentioned my undying love for Fratelli, I would be remiss if I failed to mention the genius and vocal stylings of Lou Hickey. She brings a very sultry and classic jazz style performance to the table here that is the glue that holds all of the separate pieces of this album together. Without her, I’m not sure that this album is even half as entertaining. Fratelli and Hickey are a package deal here, and a sweet package at that!

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Up next, enjoy their airy song Time, just before you buy the album in the next few minutes…

And here is the raucous rocker Little Sister to help you tap your feet or jump on the table and dance… if that is your thing. Also, if that is your thing, take video and leave it in the comments because I wanna see it!

I can dance too, but it looks more like this…giphy…and nobody wants that. Not even my wife. I have a lot of talents and dancing, sadly, is not one of them… but I digress.

Finally, I will leave you with their magnificent cover of the Stone Roses song, I Am the Resurrection

I know you will enjoy Codeine Velvet Club and I hope you have taken this opportunity to sample their most excellent music. Definitely pick up the disc or purchase it digitally, you won’t regret it. Also, if you like what you hear, support these fine musicians in their other endeavors: The Fratellis and Lou Hickey

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