The Velvet Teen - Elysium (Cover Artwork)

The Velvet Teen

The Velvet Teen: ElysiumElysium (2004)
Slowdance Records

Reviewer Rating: 5
User Rating:

Contributed by: Katie4213Katie4213
(others by this writer | submit your own)

I have always had immense respect and love for The Velvet Teen. I first heard them when they were touring with Cursive. Their music shocked me. Beautifully composed and delivered. Singer Judah Nagler's voice literally sent chills running down my spine. Elysium, the newest album by the Velvet.
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I have always had immense respect and love for The Velvet Teen. I first heard them when they were touring with Cursive. Their music shocked me. Beautifully composed and delivered. Singer Judah Nagler's voice literally sent chills running down my spine. Elysium, the newest album by the Velvet Teen sent those chills running again, shocking me beyond belief.

Elysium is by far, the best album I have heard this year. It is a story beautifully orchestrated by drums, bass, piano, and strings. No guitar. The eight tracks run just over 45 minutes, each one, flawless.

The album begins with an instrumental track that sounds as if it could be the soundtrack of a horror movie. Eerie piano and electronic sounds pierce your eardrums - in some ways, haunting. The album then moves into the coaxing and hypnotizing sound of "Penicillin" and "A Captive Audience." The Fourth track, "Chimera Obscurant," is a twelve minute lyrical masterpiece of emotion and anxiousness. The latter half descends into tranquility with the album favorite of mine, "Poor Celine," "Forlorn" and "We Were Bound (to bend the rules)."

For those who have been fans of the Velvet Teen, at a fist listen Elysium may seem very different then their previous work. It is much more mellow, lacking any sort of poppy hooks that were found in songs such as "Counting Backwards", "Naked Girl", and "Radiapathy". But there is no need for any hooks on this album. The 45 plus minutes of beauty speak for themselves, and leave you longing to hear more piano and Judah's low voice lulling you.

John K. Samson has always been a lyrical favorite of mine. However, the Velvet Teen has taken the edge with this album. Disguised in the album art, it is hard to read all, if any of the lyrics. However, they have just been added to the band's website. I recommend reading them - they are amazing.

Production wise Elysium is perfect. It still has a raw feel, but flows seamlessly from track to track. I was hesitant at first, afraid that the album would be overproduced and stripped of the creativity that has become a trademark of The Velvet Teen. But it should have come as no surprise - the production was simply put, perfect. Slowdance Records knows how to allow their musicians to grow without polishing their finished products to the extreme.

When you hear an album like Elysium, it is always bittersweet. You wonder if it can ever be surpassed. Honestly, this music is unprecedented, and unlike anything I have heard. However, this is The Velvet Teen we are talking about. A group of talented musicians that have never failed to amaze their fans. I have complete faith that they can still grow musically, and it excites me to imagine what they will come up with next. After all, "there's so much to be done, and [they're] right on the cusp".


People who liked this also liked:
Braid - Frame & CanvasTed Leo and the Pharmacists - Shake The SheetsThe Get Up Kids - Something To Write Home AboutThe Velvet Teen - Out Of The Fierce ParadeThe Velvet Teen - Plus, Minus, EqualsThe Velvet Teen - Cum Laude!Metric - FantasiesInspector Owl - Life Finds a WayVia Audio - Say Something Say Something Say SomethingP.O.S. - Never Better

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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
Anonymous (March 17, 2005)

This album has some respectable string work, but absolutely no inspired melodies, the music has no testacles at all, and the drumming is ridiculous. The singing is garish and sappy and I don't understand why everyone is so impressed with this CD. It's uninspired and generic. Maybe Im missing something.


Anonymous (September 19, 2004)

To add onto my last comment...if you want to hear some great side projects check out "Logan Whitehurst and the Junior Science Club", Dr. Domento thinks it is amazing as do I, also check out "The New Trust" Which is Josh Staples other band, they are incredible

Anonymous (September 19, 2004)

The album is a very good one at that...the only thing that people need to remember is that there are three members in the band while this recording went on...Josh Staples, and Logan Whitehurst are amazing musicians and I have had the privilage of seeing them quite a few times...Judah is a great musician yes, but people need to recognize the other members in the band as well...they are The Velvet Teen, not Judah Negler and The Velvet Teen...and as for the 12 minute song...the first 6 are good...then the rest is over done...

Anonymous (September 2, 2004)

i just got it. very very very good. the 12 minute song seems to drag on a little longer than i would care for, but the other songs are fantastic. my only complaint is that i dont think this cd is fully realized. just because these 8 tracks (including one instrumental and one hidden blurb of sound) add up to a full length style album does not mean that it's done. this album needed a more satisfying finish in my opinion. the individual songs are great, but the album as a whole seems incomplete.


travis (August 13, 2004)

it deserves a 10, without a doubt. one of the best albums of the year.

Anonymous (August 11, 2004)

I am sure Casey is doing great but no one can ever replace Logan.

No one.

...but I am sure Casey kicks ass and his time with VT will be great and the stuff of legend.

Anonymous (August 11, 2004)

man, I'd like one of those barley legal velvet-teen's right now!

Anonymous (August 11, 2004)

Really?! I wonder how Poor Celine transfers over without strings. I really like the ending of that song and it's partially because the strings give it so much energy.

Anonymous (August 11, 2004)

to the first commenter: they don't have live string players but they have all of it pre-recorded, except (oddly) for poor celine, which is just piano/bass/drums live.

Anonymous (August 11, 2004)

I can never really listen to this album for just one song, because it plays more like one long epic. I have favorite parts I look forward to rather than favorite songs I look forward to. I don't know if it's a good thing, but it is addictive. I keep trying to find 40 minutes to spin through it.

I really think that if you're really going to enjoy this cd, you need to be able to dedicate a full 40 minutes to listening to it.

Anonymous (August 11, 2004)

ok, here's the thing. i really love out of the fierce parade. and at time i really like this one. but sometimes i feel the song-writing is weak. like the songs are long for the sake of being long without anything to justify their lengths. sometimes it feels like the songs just meander without actually offering and real melodies and you can't even figure out what the song is doing there. some parts are absolutely beautiful, but this album feels more like a bunch of great parts with a lot of pointless meandering, without real SONGS. my opinion on this might change with further listening, because despite my problems with the album, i feel compelled to listen to it a lot. and i really do like certain parts of it a lot. so for now i'll give it an average rating, though my feelings may change.

Anonymous (August 11, 2004)

i plan on owning this soon. better lyrics than john k. samson? that's saying quite a bit. this better be as good as you make it sound. good review by the way.

U-Mass (August 11, 2004)

This band is too good.

Anonymous (August 11, 2004)

I was the last reviewer, I just want to add something. I have two minor complaints production-wise: one, the bass drum occasionally clips, but considering it was all recorded very cheaply onto a laptop, it's understandable. Another thing is that at times the string section sounds a hair out of tune with the piano, but it's so small it's barely noticeable.

Anonymous (August 11, 2004)

One word: wow.
And by all means, SEE THEM LIVE. Casey has filled Logan's shoes quite nicely.

Anonymous (August 11, 2004)

amazing album. by far their best lyricly and musicly. perfict production.

if you have half a brain youll go see them while their touring. ive seen them at least four times over the last couple years and the last one was heads and shoulds above all their past shows.

maverick (August 10, 2004)





Anonymous (August 10, 2004)

the Velvet Teen is incredible.
i want this album so bad.
...just need the money.


Anonymous (August 10, 2004)

Good review. Just a magnificent album. Poor Celine is definitely a favorite of mine as well. It was in my car's cd player for two straight weeks after I initially got it. Definitely a musical achievement. I'm curious how it will transfer over to the stage (without live strings) but I guess I'll see in two weeks.

Everyone should own this.

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