Twin brothers Daniel and Danny Chavez of The Veldt have been making music without a break since they were in junior high school in the early Eighties. A penchant for whirlpool melodies and joyously meandering guitars left them with a confused audience ('this isn't reggae!') and displeased labels ('What do you mean you like the Cocteau Twins?').
It wouldn't be a stretch to say that The Veldt have put as much energy into breaking out of the moulds they've been forced to squeeze into as they have into making the music they want to. On the behest of their label, they briefly changed their name to Apollo Heights because - so it was said - 'The Veldt' just wasn't cutting it with the audience. They cheekily titled the only Apollo Heights album ever made White Music for Black People before switching back to their original moniker.
Ironically, despite enjoying the patronage of none other than Robin Guthrie, the Veldt remained relatively anonymous for most of their career. They've toured with The Jesus and Mary Chain and played support for Lush and Babes in Toyland without ever receiving the same degree of attention and adulation as their peers. Daniel recalls their time in the UK in the early Nineties - a period spent in the casual company of Blur, Aztec Camera and Echo and the Bunnymen It was then, at the Portobello Hotel, that the Clash's Mick Jones greeted the band with a cheery 'you're Robin's boys!' while the twins were preparing to record their first album with Guthrie.
It was while they were recording this never-released album that shoegaze legends A.R. Kane (among others), stopped by the studio. Today, they’re pulling a cameo on 'And It's You' - the final track on The Shocking Fuzz of Your Electric Fur.
It's difficult to call this EP a comeback for The Veldt considering how the brothers didn't ever stop making music, but there's no doubt the A.R. Kane influence, the familiarly swirling guitars, and Daniel's trademark falsetto make the EP taste particularly nostalgic.
The Guthrie may be strong with the opening track, but 'Sanctified' serves more as an 'up yours!' than anything else. You can easily imagine this track, with its choral overtones and closing 'Hallelujah's, as the sort of thing the Veldt's initial audience and major labels would have been sold on. 'This,' they would say 'is what a couple of black kids SHOULD sound like!'
Their exultation would have been short-lived as 'In A Quiet Room' sees the Veldt bringing in glorious swirling riffs to accompany the dreamiest verses and sweetest refrain to emerge from the 2010s. 'A Token' is another charmer, underlining delicate vocals with a characteristically 'Souvlaki Space Station' drone, ebbing and flowing gently through the entirety of the track's five minutes.
Jim Reid was among those to come up to the Veldt when they were in the UK to say 'I really like your vinyls.' It took two more decades and an article in the Guardian for the rest of the world to catch up. Today Danny and Daniel find themselves preparing to go on tour supporting The Brian Jonestown Massacre ahead of the launch of the former's full-length album (to be released later this year).
'We've been called 'difficult' to work with,' Daniel warned Anton, before sealing the deal. 'Newcombe's reply surprises no one: 'I like difficult.'
Welcome home, The Veldt.
7Radhika Takru's Score