The Velveteens – Marveline

The Velveteens

The Velveteens are primarily Amy and Meagan Alwood, two sisters with very strong, well-trained voices. After playing for several years either by themselves or with various other musicians, the band finally formalized their line-up for their first full-length album.

What you have here are some lofty, almost orchestrated pop songs that are completely focused on the Alwood sisters’ voices. At times, they sound like the Indigo Girls, at times like opera singers, covering notes likely never before heard in the realm of pop music. Technically, Amy sings lead and Meagan sings backup, but it sounds like the two are singing together and harmonizing almost the entire time. The rest of the music is standard, often leaning heavily on the bass for a bit of a funky pop sound.

“Fishbreath” starts off oddly, with a poppily strummed acoustic guitar and the double female vocals soaring all over the place and singing what sounds like classically trained lyrics. This was apparently how the two sisters originally started, just their voices and Amy’s acoustic guitar. But when the drums, bass and electric guitar come in on the slower “Dog Song,” the band has a much more pop-rock sound. The emphasis is still on the vocals, however, and they’re never drowned out by the other instruments. “Romeo” uses the bass for a bit of funk and throws in a bit more attitude. “Rolled Over” and “Alliteration” are other ones that are just acoustic guitar and the two voices, primarily. “The Devil and Me” has some unique bass and guitar lines that is nice. “Goodbye Again” is slower, more like a ballad, even with some country twinges, which I don’t much care for. And the final “Take Off” has some rock value in some guitar licks, but too little, too late.

I can’t say The Velveteens really endear me. For one thing, the Alwoods’ voices completely distract me from the music. Sure, they’re excellent singers, with voices that can be sultry at one minute and high-pitched and beautiful the next. The problem is, they’re almost too good, covering too much ground. The rest of the music is pretty standard, nothing exceptionally unique, meaning the band is leaning on their unique vocal stylings. And because that is so distracting to me, mixed so far in the front as they are, I have trouble with this album. But with a bit better songwriting and less emphasis on the vocals, this band could be huge.