Advanced Copy- Codeine Velvet Club

Jeff Yerger

Remember those big band jazz albums in your grandparents’ record collection? Well, thanks to the Codeine Velvet Club,  the new  venture of Jon Lawlor, a.k.a. Jon Fratelli, of the Fratellis fame, the big band sound is making a comeback but in a new, refreshing way. 

Fans of The Fratellis will be used to the upbeat vibe of many of the songs, but don’t expect to be singing along to these songs in a pub. No, these songs are far too classy to be left for the stench of stale beer and broken hearts at the local watering hole. Rather, the Codeine Velvet Club’s debut evokes the image of a glamorous 1920s swing dance hall, complete with brass and violin sections. 

It’s lights, camera, action for the opening number, “Hollywood,” which is an exhilarating piece filled with action, drama and romance, just like the Hollywood of old. Singers Jon Lawlor and Lou Hickey trade off vocal duties, something that is a reccurring theme throughout the album, and the effect is delightful. The boy-girl interaction that unfolds in most of the songs brings a playful aspect to this album; Lawlor and Hickey’s voices work together well and feed off of each other quite nicely. 

The lead single off the album, “Vanity Kills,” is a pop song like no other you hear these days. Hickey and Fratelli trade leads, and the melody is as jazzy as it is delightful. Hickey’s old-school voice soars on many of these songs. Take the song “I Wish My Daddy,” for instance, where she takes complete control of the microphone and delivers a performance that is both sexy and charming. One of the highlights on the album is the show-stopping “Little Sister.” This bluesy rocker is probably the closest thing to a Fratellis song that the Codeine Velvet Club gets on the album, and it doesn’t disappoint.

Of course, what’s a good album without a few slower songs to balance out the moods? Codeine Velvet Club has two mellow tracks that’ll bring the lights low, like the dreamy “Nevada” or the gentle “Reste Avec Moi.”

There’s nothing like putting on an album that is pleasantly surprising, and that’s what Codeine Velvet Club’s album is. Its debut is so different from anything out there right now, and it is a breath of fresh air. So put on your best dress or tuxedo, wear your finest jewelry and strap on some dancing shoes because the Codeine Velvet Club is bringing class and glamour to the music scene this April.