An Pierle and White Velvet
An Pierle and White Velvet


5.0
classic

Review

by Trifolium USER (15 Reviews)
November 22nd, 2020 | 98 replies


Release Date: 2006 | Tracklist

Review Summary: To impress me, you need more than action hero clothes and sex appeal.

That’s a good point. What else do you need? When you hear the 1,000th band trying to innovate while blending pop’s instant gratification with the rougher edges and guitar solos of rock, you might wonder what makes for a successful approach amongst the lot. What is that magical spark that makes certain bands wildly successful, whilst others sound samey to a fault?

The Belgian collaboration of singer-songwriter An Pierlé and White Velvet provides a clear answer: a sense of theatricality. Their 2006 collaboration An Pierlé & White Velvet isn’t very theatrically titled, but that might just be the only untheatrical thing about it. Each individual song here is like a chapter in a book, constantly painting their own colourful, engrossing pictures. When the huge choruses and enormous drama of Snakesong are over, you dive straight into the humppa and carefree goofiness of Mexico. And take the contrast between the album’s centre – and perhaps its highlight track – Tenderness, with its melancholy first half growing into a gorgeous mid-section, which flows directly into the cabaret-style claps, honky-tonk piano, and oohs and aahs of It’s Got To Be Me.

The band goes through so many different moods in 52 minutes that you might wonder how they manage to keep it all together, for they absolutely succeed in doing that. One of the main factors that help them pull this off, and a huge boost to the album’s theatricality, is An Pierle’s voice. Her singing is very effective in conveying emotions. She has been compared to Kate Bush in the past, and for once the comparison isn’t that far-fetched at all. Her delicate falsetto, deep belts, huffing and puffing, whistling, doo-doo-aahs, and even something that’s on the edge of becoming a growl, follow each other up like it’s nothing. On top of that, she manages to carry the stories with great ease, easily drawing the listener in by means of her compelling intonation and delivery. She brings sex-appeal too, by sounding highly sensual and husky when the music requires her to. And just moments later, she almost turns into a theremin (check Poor Danny if you don’t believe me)!

Another main factor in both this album’s success and its coherence is the instrumentation. White Velvet seem to be able to play anything, throwing whatever they want at the listener, whenever they feel like it. Be it trumpets and alien sounds soaring up in the sky in the aforementioned highlight Tenderness, or the same trumpets in I Love You, or the flute touches in the post-chorus of Jupiter, followed by barely noticeable cellos. One moment you get a silly organ, during the intro of Good Year, the next it is the humppa approach of Mexico, or It’s Got To Be Me’s vaudeville vibes, complete with egg shakers and Dumbo-drum/clown-falls-on-his-ass sounds. On top of that you’ve got the icy-cold and harsh strings of Cold Winter, contrasted by the neurotic paranoia of Not The End, driven by intense guitars. The album boasts so many musical ideas, with equally as many different instruments thrown into the mix, but their honest and theatrical approach easily keeps it from falling apart.

Naturally, their approach isn’t new. Just like Pierlé’s singing, the band takes much inspiration from Kate Bush in their approach. We can also discern Radiohead-like moments here and there. Yet for these similarities with past greats, Pierlé & Co create such a strong sense of urgency, so flawlessly integrating all of their separate influences and generously throwing musical ideas left, right and centre, that this album does stand out from the crowd. Easily. Between these flawlessly integrated musical ideas, each track accomplishes a unique, different feel. The consistently strong sense of theatricality and emotionally frank vocals orchestrate the band's successful approach to weird, poppy rock.

After all of this you can still wonder why some bands get super popular, whereas others stay relatively under the radar, even though they bring so much to the table. Might it be the nondescript, weird cover art? A collaboration between two forces that are not well-known at outside of their native Belgium? Whatever it may have been, this album feels like a powerful statement, without any given explanation, that the fact that it remains a hidden gem is wonderful.



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user ratings (9)
4.1
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
Trifolium
November 22nd 2020


21125 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Thanks once again for proofreading Jesper. Much appreciated!



I know a 5.0 is pretty outrageous maybe, but there is so much to love here that I can't rate it anything else. This is one special weirdo of an album, that's been with me for almost 15 years now, but I still find new little things to like about it to this day.

JesperL
Contributing Reviewer
November 22nd 2020


2222 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

yess! giving this a listen first thing tomorrow :]

Digging: Emma Ruth Rundle and Thou - The Helm Of Sorrow

Trifolium
November 22nd 2020


21125 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Hope you enjoy! I'm scared to see what others think about it. So far I only know that my bf enjoys it a lot too, and Egarran seems to like it, so I have hope! I just don't know if I'm crazy for loving it so much haha!

Bedex
November 22nd 2020


2518 Comments


v sweet review Trif I'll have to check this xoxo Trif4contrib

Egarran
November 22nd 2020


19977 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Oh yeah this is so nice. The album too.

Digging: Profanum - Profanum Aeternum Eminence Of Satanic Imperial Art

ArsMoriendi
November 22nd 2020


32806 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I already liked the song by them you chose for SotD



And this review reads like total Arscore :P



I'll check this in December!

Digging: Melt-Banana - Cell-Scape

Lucman
November 22nd 2020


5106 Comments


Ooooh, a Trif 5. I've gotta check this.

Digging: Mew - Frengers

Gyromania
November 23rd 2020


31409 Comments


Whoa

normaloctagon
November 23rd 2020


3824 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

hay one of your tunes from sotd is from this album!!! excited to check rev+music

Digging: Madvillain - Madvillainy

normaloctagon
November 23rd 2020


3824 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

pos'd lovely writing trif. really enjoying this album

parksungjoon
November 23rd 2020


25751 Comments


trif review :]

what do you think of her earlier stuff? rym seems to prefer mud stories and helium sunset

Digging: Government - Shitshitshit [japanese death poem]

Trifolium
November 23rd 2020


21125 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Thank you lovelies! Really hope you find something nice here. And yeah Ars I guess there is a fair chance you'll like it, hope it's weird enough for you.



I'm not too sure about that park! I've heard some of her solo stuff and I've heard the follow up they've done together as well but I prefer this one by a very large margin. Which makes me even more doubtful about whether I see clearly as far as this is concerned.

dedex
Contributing Reviewer
November 23rd 2020


6360 Comments


woop woop a Trifobro rev! the track you rec'd on the SOTD thread was cool indeed

+ Belgian flex yeah m/

Digging: The Body - I?ve Seen All I Need To See

Trifolium
November 23rd 2020


21125 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Super mega Belgian flex dedex! Do you even have a 5.0 from BE? And you Bedex?

Pangea
November 23rd 2020


5496 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

The songs you showed are great so i'll check

Digging: Crippled Black Phoenix - Ellengaest

Trifolium
November 23rd 2020


21125 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Yippeeee! Let's bump up that user rating count!

Trifolium
November 23rd 2020


21125 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I should've known

That a snake on a throne

Is bound to beguuuuuuuuiiiile

Egarran
November 23rd 2020


19977 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I rated this before it was cool

Trifolium
November 23rd 2020


21125 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Yes you did.

We're the only ones at this point, which is actually kind of cosy in a way 💚

JesperL
Contributing Reviewer
November 23rd 2020


2222 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

this was quirky and v fun! slapping a 3.5 on it for now, def has potential to grow :]



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