ReverbReverbReverb. Thomas Gainer is a reverb conglomerate stockpiling barrels of the stuff in the upper reaches of North America. He’s taken the moniker of Velvet Bison, but won’t be able to hide much longer once listeners hear his newest self-titled record Velvet Bison.
Gainer stays true to the grimy garage blues sensibilities while never borrowing too heavily from his predecessors and contemporaries (i.e. The Who, Led Zeppelin, The White Stripes, The Black Keys, Queens of the Stone Age). The rhythm section is bass-heavy and thumping, but what songs aren’t these days?
The backbone of this impressive DIY effort is Gainer’s eclectic guitar work and spontaneous vocal melodies. He employs savage guitar jabs in the vein of Jack White—raw, heavy, and dripping with distortion—but isn’t half the luddite White is. Gainer double-tracks all his vocals, often crooning at the very peak and singing in the middle of his range simultaneously (see: the chorus to “Among the Peaks”).
His singing on “Consume Me” gives the effect of him yelling from one end of a long hallway to his mic at the other end. The amalgamation of the two vocal tracks gives Velvet Bison novel flair while maintaining a lo-fi sound that is currently in vogue.
Every band is in some way or another trying to do what Velvet Bison has accomplished with this self-titled debut: create catchy, radio-friendly music without sacrificing experimentation. It’s not fantastical to imagine a big company soliciting Velvet Bison for a commercial, juxtaposing raw, energetic music with sleek, titanium technology, like The Orwells in the recent Apple spot. Intentional or not, Gainer’s passion project is primed to blow up.
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