Codeine Velvet Club: Codeine Velvet Club

Codeine Velvet Club: Codeine Velvet Club
Codeine Velvet Club was started by Jon Lawler of the Fratellis to keep himself busy between albums. On their debut album, Codeine Velvet Club proves themselves to be a more than worthy side project.
After a highly successful debut album, the Fratellis released their sophomore album, Here We Stand. The album was a critical failure and paled in comparison commercially to their debut. This was the last time we saw Jon Lawler. What is puzzling is instead of re-emerging with a bigger and better Fratellis album he put his time and effort into Codeine Velvet Club. However, it is evident that he put a lot of time and effort into the album.
The album’s song writing is fun with a retro vibe similar to the Fratellis. The major difference between the Fratellis and Codeine Velvet Club are the arrangements. Fratellis have always relied on raw sounding song to emphasize the energy, while Codeine Velvet Club is unconcerned with sounding raw. If anything, Codeine Velvet Club wants to sound overproduced. The album employs an entire orchestra. The orchestra serves as the backdrop for the great majority of the songs. The songs have a wide range of influences. The obvious major influence is the orchestral pop of the Beatles, but there are twinges of the show tunes of Andrew Lloyd Webber.
For example, the album’s lead single “Vanity Kills” is drenched in Broadway glitz. The orchestra’s horns blast out a cabaret style pop song while the male/female dueling vocals from Jon Lawler and Lou Hickey work like a dialogue. While the male/female dueling vocals purvey through most of the album, they do not always work as dialogue. On the album’s second single “Hollywood”, the vocals are more reminiscent of the New Pornographers.
In the end, Codeine Velvet Club’s debut album turns out more successfully than the Fratellis’ last album. The album is full of fun pop songs with lush arrangements. Let’s hope Lawler put as much time into the next Fratellis as he did this.
Rating: 8.2/10
MP3: Codeine Velvet Club “Hollywood”
Buy: iTunes or Insound!