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Velvet Threads Show Up With Their 'Sunday’s Best' (An Album Review)

Article by Melanie Macpherson

It's always a thrill when a band you've been following from the local scene breaks out with a new album that just hits all the right notes. The Velvet Threads, a Saskatchewan band hailing from Prince Albert and Saskatoon, have captivated audiences with their unique blend of contemporary blues and pop-rock since their formation in 2018. Their latest album, Sunday’s Best, released at the end of May, is a luxurious journey through a soundscape of bluesy pop-rock and sultry soulful grooves.

"My Fire" kicks off the album with a bang; a song about earning everything the hard way. It struts in with a tarnished glamour and a glittering recklessness reminiscent of Las Vegas in the 60s and 70s. This track feels rich, luxurious, and full of swagger. Then, get ready to shout 'testify' as "I Won't Be Leavin'" follows with the force of a televangelist's healing palm to the forehead. The song, a promise never to leave the way they've been left behind in the past, dives into dark territory but still manages to maintain its frenzied positivity. Just imagine a country church congregation stomping and dancing in the aisles, hands raised to the sky.

Then comes "Drifting Away," which quickly became a personal favourite. This track brings the energy to a more introspective level, allowing Kate Fyrk's voice to take the lead. It's about watching someone you love drift farther away, unable or unwilling to admit anything is wrong. The heartbreaking knowledge that there's nothing you can do hits deep. The tempo picks up again with "Blueberry Lemonade," a song that feels tailor-made for a roller rink with disco ball lights and swirling psychedelic colors. The call-out for a little late-night sugar is super sexy and decadent, leading nicely into the full-out gritty, bluesy badassery of "Devil Don't Rest." This track, about gladly selling your soul to the devil for a shared dream, encapsulates the album's rebellious spirit.

Fyrk's voice steps back into the spotlight in "Love Song," a velvety smooth ode that rolls in with some serious lounge singer slink. It brings to mind a dark room, a single spotlight shining on a Jessica Rabbit-style bombshell in a seductive sequined gown split to the hip, sitting atop a piano. Next, "I Hope It Rains" delivers a soulful punch. We've all looked at people who seem to live a privileged life and wished life's hardships were a little more equitably spread around. Sour grapes never tasted better than they do here, with vocals that would make Aretha Franklin smile and a chorus begging for a full crowd sing-along.

The album wraps up with what feels like a confession of morning-after regrets. Title track “Sunday’s Best” starts out repentant but builds in boldness and recklessness like a hair-of-the-dog plunge into round two of bad decisions with all the energy of a revival meeting. The album finishes with a dancing-in-the-aisles, shout-it-to-the-rafters chorus of joyful hedonism and rebellion.

The album release party on June 8th at Coors Event Centre encapsulated this wild, glittery recklessness perfectly. The two opening bands set the stage for the party perfectly. Regina hard rockers Cheap Heat brought their raw energy, igniting the crowd with their fiery punk-tinged performance. With a serious sound, but light hearted lyrics, the audience enjoyed songs about hot lasagna, trout fishing, and Minhas making cheap alcohol.  

Following them, The Brothers G, now with Kit Langfield as a full member, delivered a set that seamlessly blended their bluesy classic rock roots with Langfield’s big personality, fresh influence, and additional instruments.  This was probably the best performance I’ve seen from the bros, and I love how they get better every time I see them.

Velvet Threads kept the night rolling in style.  Fyrk, adorned in sequined pants, a long flowing top, and sunglasses, exuded confidence and charisma.  The constantly moving intensity of seven people on stage amidst flashing lights created a visual and auditory feast. Each song both old, new and cover (I loved “Whipping Post”) was met with happy shouts, joyful dancing and enthusiastic sing-alongs. There was so much happening both on stage and in the audience, it was almost hard to know where to look.  Fyrk moved around the stage with a cordless mic that let her interact with audience and other band members.  Mitchell Dunning provided between-song banter, as well as an impressive range of percussion diversity. With Cameron Eddolls and Jordan Dunning on guitar, and Leot Hanson on bass there was no shortage of ultra cool posturing and solos.  Jan Kwiatkowski was a mad man on drums and Ross Folkersen’s keys brought a unique sound that is part of what sets Velvet Threads apart from all the guitar driven rock on the market.  Velvet Threads left it all on the stage, and the crowd piled out onto the cool downtown sidewalk satisfied.

More than simply pop-rock, Sunday's Best weaves a luxurious tapestry of tarnished glamour, sinfully slinky soul, brash blues, glittering disco swagger, psychedelic swing and hand-raising gospel with an old school Las Vegas boldness. From the lush, velvet vocals to the rich, complex instrumentation, The Velvet Threads have crafted an album that's both luscious in sound and deep in emotion. If you haven’t yet experienced their music, this album is the perfect place to start.  So, turn up the volume, let the music wrap you in decadence, and get ready to dance in the aisles.

The album was recorded at Skullcreek Studios in Watrous, produced by Velvet Threads, Aspen Beveridge, and Leot Hanson, and engineered by Aspen Beveridge.

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