The Velvet Crush
What’s in a name? In this case, Heavy Changes is seemingly right on the mark. The band known as the Velvet Crush for the most part broke up during the days of recording this record, with only Ric Menck and Paul Chastain remaining on board. To add to it, the band’s label, Sony, didn’t want to release the record at all — only making it available in Japan. They couldn’t hear any “hits.” Glad to hear the deaf can get a job in the record industry. Because, like all Crush records, this is chock full of hits. From “Fear of Flying” to the uplifting “Live For Now,” this is primo pop. Heavier in sound and subject than the last release, the classic Teenage Symphonies to God from 1994, this record shows a musical link to Menck’s heroes Mott the Hoople in pose and practice.
Lyrically, the record reflects a year in which longtime members of the group left, relationships ended — heavy changes. It’s a record brimming with disappointment, sadness and regret. “You sold your best laid plans/And the time it slipped right through your hands” from “Ever After” is a good example. The album’s sole cover, Buck Owens’ “White Satin Bed,” a country weeper of a man’s road to eternal rest, is not exactly a line-dance toe tapper, either.
In a perfect world, this band would be on heavy rotation all around the globe, not languishing in the alleys of popular culture, struggling to get records out. This is deep, adult pop music — truly “White Soul.” There hasn’t been a band like this: catchy, crunchy guitar pop that treads further than the “boy meets girl” limitations since, well, Cheap Trick. Ten years from now, the Crush will the standard by which this type of music is judged. Whatever path the band takes from this point — word is the new record is finished, and Menck is on the road drumming for Liz Phair and Matthew Sweet — rest assured, it will kick. Like a Velvet Crush.