The Veldt has always been a fascinating concept. Two black school kids in 80’s Raleigh, North Carolina dressing like European New Romantics and listening to the underground releases of London’s infamous 4AD label. A bold stance to take but one which led to the gathering together of like minded individuals and the result of course was The Veldt; a mercurial blend of the sonorous dreamscapes drifting in from across the Atlantic and more soulful and jazz infused homegrown grooves.
If the Old World evolution of dream-pop led to a less tangible, less structured form, The Veldt’s hazy, neo-psychedelic New World echoes were always grounded in a soft r’n’b groove, something which added warmth to what can often be a clinical and non-organic sound.
The Shocking Fuzz of Your Electric Fur EP sees them still exploring this gene splicing of the soulful and the sonorous, resulting in a sound somewhere between a lucid dream, half heard, half remembered and alien soul music picked up from the depths of outer space. Moody soul built from blissed out shoegaze…now there’s a concept, one which modern listeners would associate more with the likes of The Weeknd than its originators. At its most solid, And It’s You, weaves Marvin Gaye’s progressive reinvention through chiming guitars and slow electro dance grooves, at its most transient, Sanctified is distant, smoke-like and skittering.
And whilst the originality of their sound has gained them admirers in all the right quarters from Rudy Tambala (A R Kane) to Robin Guthrie (Cocteau Twins), they have also acted as a beacon for other like-minded souls looking to break out of the existing conventions. None other than Doc McKinney (The Weeknd, Drake, Estherio) said,
“For black artists, doing anything outside of the bubble, beyond what’s derivative of what white kids are doing, being able to express yourself honestly, is not celebrated at all. So when I heard these guys, it gave me confidence.”
Some bands make innovative and artistically important music, others break down cultural barriers, others still thread together ideas, which up until then weren’t even on nodding terms. It isn’t often that you find a band that stands for all of those things.