Not Found - Black Velvet (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Not Found

Black Velvet (2012)

No Reason Records

This is the Italian quintet's third long player but the first to find its way to me, and it is quite a surprising listen. Big sounding songs, with hints of metallic guitar work albeit intricacies that take a backseat to the crushing chords that drive the songs forward all allowing vocalist November (really, that's what his name is shown as on the cover) to produce one of the finest singing performances I've heard in a long while. His voice is that of a dramatic crooner as he sings, yes sings not shouts, the lyrics to the 10 tracks on this album and I am finding it a totally beguiling experience to hear his delivery, which has the ability to distract me from the relatively dark and slightly gloomy lyrical content. The words being used throughout this album are along the lines of "sinking," "‘drowning," "six feet under," etc., and I'm guessing that November might not be the happiest man around (I'm also figuring that he is the one guy frowning in the photo of the band that I've seen). There are also repetitions of words across songs-two song titles include the word "rain" and two songs refer to "November," the month not the man I presume) and it all adds up to almost a deliberate theme at the heart of the record.

Beyond the vocal marvels of November, the music brings to mind early Thrice mixed with some AFI, all boosted by a more pounding approach in creating quite a melodic wall of sound. It's not the most imaginative effort but without belaboring the point, the vocals really are having a massive effect on how much I am enjoying this album.

I don't think you will find any surprises hidden away within this record; it's all fairly straight forward with good quality musicianship throughout, nothing that really detracts from my enjoyment of repeated plays and this is indeed, a decent release. I'd really like to see how the band works live to hear if it all comes together as well as it does on Black Velvet--and yes, I want to know if November can do the business live as well as in the studio.

The sixth track is titled "One Fine Day, In the Middle of the Night," a reference to what is deemed by many to be a nonsense poem and some of that poem is shown in the lyric sheet, although for the life of me I cannot hear those words being sung in the track at all. Perhaps it's all just a nonsensical track, showing a chink of light heartedness amongst all of the surrounding darkness contained within the other nine tracks?

In addition to his vocal talents, I'll take my hat off to November for the artwork on the front cover too. It's the ubiquitous owl that punk rock has adopted as its current favorite emblem (or at least here in Europe it seems that way), seemingly eschewing the likes of the more standard anarchy symbol or the Bad Religion cross buster. I'd be interested to hear from anyone as to how the owl has gained such a prominent place within our musical genre--I've got nothing against them, in fact, in the flesh, or should that be "in the feather?" They're undeniably cute.

Anyway, back to Not Found's Black Velvet: an album that is worth checking out if you like strong vocalists with a decent, melodic musical backing.