Home > TheRest > Velocity Girl – Simpatico

Velocity Girl – Simpatico

Sub Pop Records, 1994

Heading back into the nineties and a slight recollection of a favorite group that my fellow radio DJs were into around that time, I brightened up from a sense of vague recollection when I found this disc in a dollar bin nearby.  It helped my interest by the sheer party atmosphere that the album cover conveyed, and though I didn’ t really recall what the group sounded like, I figured the combination of cover art blast as well as a rather cutesy band name meant this was going to be some standard pop fare.  Plus, look at the way “!Simpatico!” is written; girly cursive is a dead-on sign that this isn’t going to hurt the ears whatsoever.  Finally, as if this wasn’t already a purchase in waiting, “simpatico” is translated to “nice” in Spanish.  Yeah, this detective got allll the clues.

Sub Pop records were quite busy at the time that this record was released with all that grunge stuff, yet the label still managed to dabble with other elements of music to diversify their sound a bit.  The label, as well as Velocity Girl, hoped that the second release from the group would be just as successful as other label mates’ popularity.  The group wastes no time in popping you out with an excellent opener of “Sorry Again” that showcases a sound that is quite indicative of the nineties.  The song has got the layered, fuzzy guitars as well as the blended group vocals that highlights Sarah Shannon’s range from soft to sharp.  It’s followed by an equally bouncy “There’s Only One Thing Left to Say” which, admittedly, I like a little better due to its casual build up to the chorus.

Truthfully, every song has its own set of predictable yet effective pop guitar riffs and none of them tend to stick around too long to annoy you.  Okay, well, there is the nearly five minute epic of “Rubble” that, unlike the first two songs on the record, has a more serious tone to it as well as a slower pace.  This doesn’t turn out to be too bad in the end, but if a band is trying to thrive on quick pop songs of cheery disposition, it probably would have been best to lop off a couple minutes of this one.  Thankfully the band makes up for this lodestone of a tune by smashing out a few speedy, bright ones at the end of the record.  “Medio Core” reminds me a little of the lower tone of “There’s Only One…”, and the switch of lead vocals to Archie Moore on “What You Left Behind” sounds great for a change of pace.  As the suddenly soft, melancholic “Wake Up, I’m Leaving” trails off the end of the record, one has to feel that Velocity Girl had to feel pretty good about their sophomore pop effort.

Check out some Velocity Girl at Last.fm or, hey, this video:

Velocity Girl is not known by many and yet they put out a very good pop rock record during a time when people tended to focus on musical aggression or vice.  Due to some band member shuffling, the band only managed to put out another record in 1996 before ending their all too brief tenure as a band.  It’s a pity, for other bands that had a similar interest in audience (Gin Blossoms, Cracker) had a lot more publicity that Velocity Girl could have reaped as well.  If there weren’t such a product of the times, it would be refreshing to have Velocity Girl return in a day and age when pop music tends to be overproduced or over-hyped.  Ah well … would you hate me if I began living in the past?

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