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Classic rock reduxDavid Vandervelde - The Moonstation House Band
3 1/2 stars (out of 5 stars)
Reviewed: June 17, 2007
Review by Tony BonyataWith a glaring penchant for the sounds of Marc Bolan and T. Rex, Chicago-based singer/songwriter David Vandervelde has not only tapped into the precise vibe that made Bolan an overnight phenomenon in the U.K. in the early '70s on his new debut full-length The Moonstation House Band, but has done so without sounding so much as a throwback in time, but instead a welcome return to the golden age of classic pop rock.
Originally hailing from Holland, Michigan, Vandervelde relocated to Chicago three years ago when he was only 19, where he moved into his friend and Wilco bandmember Jay Bennet's place. There the two would work on their respective solo works, and, as it turns out, much of the equipment used for Wilco's Yankee Hotel Foxtrot and Being There albums were also utilized for The Moonstation House Band record.
The eight tracks channel the bump-and-grind chug of T. Rex (most notably on the delicious opening track "Nothing No" and "Jacket"), along with the more stripped-down folkie material of Bolan's pre T. Rextasy days (the dreamy "Feet of a Liar" and the more excitable "Can't See Your Face No More," which is spiked with bongo drums that also drove most of T. Rex's rhythms). The rich psychedelic orchestration also gives a nod and a wink to The Beatles ("Corduroy Blues" and the closing number "Moonlight Instrumental" which would have fit quite comfortably on the George Martin-produced instrumental half of the Yellow Submarine soundtrack ). "Murder in Michigan" manages to successfully channel the strong songwriting skills of Elton John and Bernie Taupin at the start (and height) of their career in the early '70s, while "Wisdom From A Tree," which shimmers with haunted female harmonies, dancing strings and Vandervelde's cool, detached vocal delivery that oozes with sensuality, wouldn't have sounded out of place on Harry Nilsson's 1971 pop masterpiece Nilsson Schmilsson.
While David Vandervelde may be stuck in the amber from classic rock's formidable years, his choice of reference (1970 to '73) couldn't be sweeter. Anyone who can make 1971 sound this good all over again is alright in my book.
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