Chris Velan brings us Solidago, his third full-length effort, and follow-up to his 2006 release Twitter, Buzz. Howl!
With his latest effort Velan lays down a soft rock effort which has a number of noticeable influences from a sort of '80s rock sensibility and at times a reggae heartbeat.
Velan's bio talks of time spent in African and how that influenced his work. I didn't hear that until song five when Hunting Season had a definite African mix in the music. It was a mix that certainly worked. I love the music behind this song. It would be wonderful even without the lyrics.
This is also a CD that is rather radio friendly. Wobbly Bones is a catchy tune with radio written all over it, although lyrically, the subject matter of violence is far darker than the approach. It's a rather odd mix in that sense, yet it works.
Oldest Truck fits that radio 'feel' template too.
I must say I am also impressed with the cut Pauper In A Palace. The lyrics are catchy, the music catchy, the performance smooth. It's soft rock at its best.
Now to be honest, I generally don't go in for the softer pop, rock-influenced music, but darn Velan's music is rather infectious. You get into the sound, the toe starts tapping, and suddenly you're hooked in spite of yourself.
In the end, I have to recommend this CD. It really does rise above most of the soft rock efforts out there, partly because Velan broadens the musical base, part because the lyrics works, and partly because he has a voice that simply fits the genre.
Check it out at www.chrisvelan.com
-- CALVIN DANIELS
-- Review first appeared in Yorkton This Week newspaper Sept. 30, 2009 - Yorkton, SK. Canada