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A Single Odessey

Velvet Crush

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Album Review

A 20-track, 63-minute compilation named in honor of the Zombies' Odessey and Oracle, A Single Odessey collects all of the single and EP tracks from Velvet Crush's first 11 years. The chronological progression brings the listener through their sweetly jangly power pop early days that culminated in their excellent debut album, In the Presence of Greatness, to the country-tinged middle period of Teenage Symphonies to God, and then to the harder-edged material from the latter half of the '90s. Heard in bits and pieces like this, however, the progression sounds less like stylistic and personal development and more like aimless genre-hopping. That said, A Single Odessey has plenty of goodies to offer, particularly an excellent set of covers — including impressive takes on Teenage Fanclub's "Everything Flows" and a previously unreleased version of Gene Clark's "Elevator Operator." Paul Chastain and Ric Menck's attempt at the theme song for Tom Hanks' That Thing You Do, written and recorded with Mitch Easter, is another gem. This is probably not the best starting point for the Velvet Crush novice, but fans will find plenty to enjoy.

Biography

Formed: 1989 in Rhode Island

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s

A classic power-pop band in the tradition of the Raspberries and Big Star, Velvet Crush formed in Rhode Island in 1989, although their roots actually extended west to Champaign, Illinois, where vocalist/bassist Paul Chastain and drummer Ric Menck first met and began performing together. There Menck founded his own small label, Picture Book, on which he and Chastain recorded solo material as well as singles under various group names like the Springfields, Choo Choo Train, the Paint Set and Bag O'Shells....
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