Monday, 16 November 2015

Lewis & The Strange Magics - "Velvet Skin" (Album Review)

By Victor Van Ommen

Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 21/08/2015
Label: Soulseller Records


There’s no doubt that “Velvet Skin” is an enjoyable listen despite the familiar tones that the band wallows in from the start. Lewis and The Strange Magics can be proud of what they accomplished on this debut album and hopefully they use this as the starting block to their career.

“Velvet Skin” CD//DD//LP track listing:
1. Carbon Wine
2. How To Be You
3. Suzy’s Room
4. Golden Threads
5. Nina (Velvet Skin)
6. Female Vampire
7. Cloudy Grey Cube
8. Your Evil Trip


The Review:

The bar for making retro occult rock has been set pretty high thanks in part to Black Sabbath dragging Uncle Acid along for a successful European tour. With this, new bands should take note that they’ll need to work pretty hard to leave a mark. None the less, Lewis and The Strange Magics take a stab at it with their debut album, “Velvet Skin,” and don’t seem to have a problem coming across as the genre’s little brother.

At eight songs and 41 minutes, Lewis and the Strange Magics have presented a satisfactory, vinyl-minded debut album. It fits nicely on one slab of wax, each side telling its own story. Side A opens with “Carbon Wine,” immediately boasting the album’s strongest chorus as well as summing up the band’s sound in a nutshell. Shuffling along with the Hammond-led chorus comes follow up “How to Be You” before “Suzy’s Room” knocks at the door with a jazzy toe-tapper. “Golden Threads” is where the tastiest licks are at, neatly rounding out the side while also exploring jumps in rhythm that pique the curiosity as to the realms Lewis and The Strange Magics will find themselves on Side B.

The second half builds from spoken word before working its way into an expansive instrumental mid-section. “Female Vampire,” the album’s single, dances to the tune of playful key tickling and is by far album’s best song. It’s placement on Side B also helps to spread the good riffs evenly across “Velvet Skin”’s tracklist. A slow psych-blues stomp follows before giving way to a sprawling, nine-minute attempt at an epic to close out the album, showing that Lewis and The Strange Magics have some interesting ideas up their sleeve but they’re all things you’ve heard before.

There’s no doubt that “Velvet Skin” is an enjoyable listen despite the familiar tones that the band wallows in from the start. Lewis and The Strange Magics can be proud of what they accomplished on this debut album and hopefully they use this as the starting block to their career, seizing their potential to grow into something interesting on their sophomore outing and beyond.


“Velvet Skin” is available here

FFO: Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats, Ruby the Hatchet,

Band info: facebook | bandcamp

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