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Teenage Symphonies to God

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Album Review

Velvet Crush's second album is an old-fashioned pop record: 12 songs in 40 minutes, filled with ultra-melodic guitar hooks and simple, memorable melodies. While it's traditional in form, the music on Teenage Symphonies to God isn't retro. Velvet Crush manage to inject a real enthusiasm and freshness in the standard three-minute pop song, whether they're playing originals that sound like forgotten classics ("Time Wraps Around You," "This Life is Killing Me," "My Blank Pages," "Hold Me Up") or forgotten classics themselves (Gene Clark's "Why Not Your Baby" and Matthew Sweet's "Something's Gotta Give"). With a crisp, warm production from Mitch Easter, Teenage Symphonies to God is one record that deserves to take its title from Brian Wilson.

Customer Reviews

total pop genius

If you don't know this album inside and out, we really cannot be friends.

Classic teenage dorm room romper stomper

I was in college when this came out and to be honest what lured me to the cd was the cover art. It looked like a new spin on the old Blue Note covers of old(or at least albums you find at the Salvation Army) I knew of Velvet Crush, but was not a huge fan...until this album. To me, this is their watershed. It's a flawless mix of uptempo pop pieces and wonderful alt country tinged tremolo. The ballads are also quite stunning. At this time, I was headlong into my "shoegazer" phase and it was all about the brits, but a few yanks made it onto my radar. This is definitely one of them. There is not a filler track in the track list and if I had to pick a few for you to sample, in case you were unsure what to particular favorite track is #7 Faster Days & #12 Keep on Lingerin' which sounds like the foundation for later tracks from the Old 97's and the Waxwings etc. I feel the Velvet Crush was one of the bands who set the template for the alt country movement that followed some time later...sadly, they were a bit ahead of the curve and therefore got overlooked.

Fab in every way

This is a stupendously fabulous record. Great songwriting with classic Mitch Easter production -- a slight hint of psychedelia ("Time Wraps Around You") with a lot of the jangle pop influence of the Byrds ("Faster Days") with a little power pop thrown in ("Hold Me Up"). One of the best records of the '90s, this one will stand the test of time. And the cover art is classic...


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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