It's hard to avoid words like "somber" and "melancholy" when describing the Velvet Teen's music. The band brought in a string quartet for its latest album, Elysium, and the symphonic swelling behind singer Judah Nagler's winsome falsetto makes the band sound rather like the bastard child of Pachelbel and Jeff Buckley. Creating songs sans guitar allows the Velvet Teen to build a foundation of piano, bass and drums, putting Nagler's impassioned wail at the forefront of each composition. Every song is sweeping in scope, blown wide open by the aural tug of war between violins and piano. With lyrics like, "Even the people that you call your friends will fuck you over . . . they never cared" ("A Captive Audience"), this is definitely not drinking-alone-on-a-Friday-night music. This is more like artsy-music-for-the-malcontents, a foray for feelers and thinkers who can appreciate a histrionic dirge without wanting to slit their wrists.
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