It’s a Monday morning and I’m feeling oddly energetic and refreshed. Not quite sure what that’s all about but why question a good thing? With this unexpected boost of energy and motivation, I figured now was a good time to check out some new music so let’s jump into Velvet Two Stripes’ new album ‘Sugar Honey Iced Tea’ and see what it’s all about!
I was intrigued as “Fever” kicked off with what sounds a bit like a guitar being tuned but in a super cool way creating a super interesting intro to this track before the rest of the band jumps in and catapults this track into a direction that can only be described as Velvet Two Stripes. A little folksy, a little psychedelic and so full of interesting layers and captivating vocals, I was instantly in love with everything Velvet Two Stripes. I really don’t know how to classify this opening track stylistically as it’s truly all over the place. I guess it really depends on which element of this track you chose to tune into. The guitar is a bit bluesy but the vocals have an almost Janis Joplin element to them while the bass line is nothing short of infectious. This track is all over the place and I just don’t have the right words to describe it all but I know I’m excited to see what else this nine-track album has in store for me.
“Two To Tango” brings a new sense of energy and almost a punk edge to this album making this an instant favorite of mine. Although there’s still a classic vibe to this track that relates back to “Fever”, there’s just something a bit more aggressive about the vocals and instrumentation that I found completely infectious and to be a perfect fit for my current mood. Unfortunately, this is one of the shortest tracks on the album at under three minutes long and I fear I got so lost in the track that, before I knew it, the album had moved onto “Spoonful of Medicine”. Although this third track continues with the edge I heard in “Two To Tango”, the instrumentation feels just a bit lighter really giving the vocals a chance to shine. The vocals, as mentioned, have an almost Janis Joplin tone to them but there’s something super current about them too. You can feel emotion and weight with the words but can also feel a sense of fun in them and I feel like all of those things are really showcased throughout “Spoonful of Medicine”.
I adore the guitar (or is that bass?) part that kicks off “Honey”. It’s infectious and creative and really lays the groundwork for this amazing track where, again, the vocals really shine. Although I definitely still hear that edge felt in the previous two tracks, there’s something just a bit slower about this track that really showcases Velvet Two Stripes’ blues influence. For a trio and for a slower-moving track, I was taken aback by the sheer power this band is able to produce in a track like this. It’s a sense of power that instantly transports you to one of their live shows. Although I’ve never even heard of Velvet Two Stripes before listening to this album and definitely haven’t seen them live, I was able to imagine their live show throughout my listen of “Honey” which is a hard thing to convey through recordings but these guys do it so effortlessly.
Things continue to calm down a wee bit for “This House Is Build on Sand”. This track seems to show a bit more of the sensitive side of this band while not losing any of the energy or edge that defines Velvet Two Stripes. Although a bit slower than my current energy level was looking for, being able to hear this more tender side of the band was a treat. Thankfully, things amp back up for “Shut Your Mouth” which was another instant favorite of mine from this album. Although it feels like “Two To Tango” tempo-wise, I love that this track has you focusing in on the guitar work. It’s not a chaotic guitar part but the intentional placement of each note and chord is evident and so damn perfect. From the tone to the length of the notes, I just, wow, I was left stunned as this track played through.
“Catch 22” is the longest track on this album at right around five and a half minutes long. It’s also one of the more moody tracks on the album. Unfortunately, like “This House is Built on Sand”, my current high-energy level made this track feel a bit too slow-moving for me but I understood its place and it really showcased all three members of this band in a perfect way. The vocals take a turn to something a bit more sultry while having an almost raspy edge them creating an inviting but smoky atmosphere. Although this track may not have hit me in the right way this morning, there’s no denying the power and personality in this track.
“Fu” follows up “Catch 22” perfectly as it seems to split the difference between the moodiness of “Catch 22” and the more punk-edged “Shut Your Mouth”. Focusing on the blues side of this band, I found myself completely addicted to the vocals in this track. Although I have mentioned the vocals throughout this review just because they are so stunning, there’s something about them in this track that had my ears completely glued to my speakers. Although not my favorite track on the album, “Fu” is a great track that truly shows all sides of this super versatile trio in all of the best light.
Closing this nine-track album is the anthemic “Wooden Bones”. This final track ends the album on a super energetic note and closes it out with an explosion of sound and power. It honestly does a terrible job ending the journey that is ‘Sugar Honey Iced Tea’ only because it made me want to go back and start this journey all over again. Much like “Fu”, “Wooden Bones” showcases elements of Velvet Two Stripes that were heard previously in the album while bringing this almost stadium-ready rock vibe to the table. Adding that element in the last track made me want to go back and look for it elsewhere in this album and that’s exactly what I did.
‘Sugar Honey Iced Tea’ from Velvet Two Stripes is seriously one of the most perfect ways to kick your day off. Full of energy while having a sense of moodiness and passion throughout the album… you should really stop everything and check this album out.
My Favorite Track(s): “Two To Tango”; “Shut Your Mouth”
For Fans Of: Bluesy Rock; A Classic Sound With a Modern Twist
Mosh-ability: 7 out of 10
What My Cats Thought Of It: Artie slept on the back of the couch; Autumn slept upstairs
How Badly I Want To See This Performed Live: 8 out of 10
My Overall Rating: 8.3 out of 10
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