David Vandervelde - The Moonstation House Band
It's got to be a drag being 22 years old and releasing a debut album that’s rooted in the 70's. The fact that you were a child of the 80's and never experienced it first hand must be a bit of a downer. All you can infer from that era is what you've gleaned from records, films and books that were mad during that time. David Vandervelde has definitely absorbed all these influences though, The Moonstation House Band sounds like it was recorded 30 years ago, the shadow of Bolan and Bowie hangs over this so much that it almost crushes it.
It's the "almost" that makes this album though. Whilst Vandervelde makes no qualms as to where his influences lie, in today's musical climate it sounds positively fresh. He's had plenty of help though, the PR for this album sounds like a who's who of American alt-rock including Jay Bennett and David Campbell, recording the closing instrumental Moonlight at the Capital Records legendary studio. But with a record so steeped in the past, it would be easy to get carried away and forget to write some tunes. Here Vandervelde doesn't fail.
Opener Nothin' No begins with an Eastern-influenced guitar sprawl as his vocals, almost Bolan-esque, drawl the childhood memory inspired lyrics. Jacket is a bit more laid back, a gentle guitar strum sounding more like Bowie circa Space Odyssey. One of the real stand out tracks is Can't See Your Face No More, a Beatles-esque romp, his voice recalling real heartbroken feelings, it's a beautiful love song with real emotion and aching. Murder In Michigan is another laid back gem, all soothing and swooping guitars with Vandervelde's delivery more calm and whimsical whilst a beautiful slide guitar solo just caps it all off.
Sure the album is like listening to a slice of 70's rock that's been transported into the present, but because it's unashamedly so, it's carried off with aplomb. Where Vandervelde goes from here though will be the key to whether he’s a one-trick pony or really a young artist that should be marked as one to watch.