Picks and Pans Review: Velocity
This first album from a young synth-pop trio out of Philadelphia is as exciting as the debuts of the B-52's and the Motels. The Vels—made up of Alice DeSoto and Chris Larkin, both on vocals and keyboards, and Charles Hanson on vocals, guitar and keyboards—deliver an inventive sound. Velocity's crisp slickness is partly attributable to producer Steven Stanley, who has worked with the Tom Tom Club and Black Uhuru, but the Vels' material is first-rate too. There are such nice touches as DeSoto's rapping and the one-step-forward, two-steps-back bass riff on Look My Way. Even lesser songs, such as Day After Day, contain a few bars that display the group's excellent melodic sensibilities. Tell Me Something and Secret Garden combine the surface tension of New Wave with the depth of a little bit of soul, while showing off DeSoto's singing range. It's all fun; imagine the Ronettes shaking hands with the Eurythmics. (Mercury/Polygram)
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