Album review: Red Velvet Crush: Smoke & Mirrors (EP)

I am a sucker for a good rock song and a catchy hook. Those seem to be top priorities for Red Velvet Crush on its new EP Smoke and Mirrors. The band spent the first part of 2013 traveling back and forth to Austin to record at yellowDOGstudios with resident producer Dave Percefull, whose credits include such recognizable names as Green Day, Bowling for Soup and KC area Idol David Cook. All songwriting duties were split between lead singer Jillian Riscoe and guitarist Daniel Mendala on this four-song introduction to the rock pop outfit. 
Riscoe reminds me a little of one of my favorite female rock vocalists, Eleanor Whitledge, of the punk band The Goops. Riscoe and Mendala recorded all the vocals, guitar, and bass tracks with studio drummer Josh Center. Percefull took care of some of the drums as well as the key and synth tracks.
The opening track starts with a hard electronic feel and a 1/16th-note driving bass line that pushes the verses. Chugging muted guitars give way to Riscoe’s declaration of the chorus, “You Didn't Lose.” Hard-hitting rock with pop sensibilities continues into track two, "Contents: Under Pressure.” It’s a slow and steady emotional one that keeps the vocals in the forefront—that one stayed in my head for awhile. The penultimate track begins with a soft voice and haunting piano riff, then kicks in quick with a tale of being "in love with a monster, devil in disguise... hiding behind blue eyes.” This rocker pulsates through 3 minutes and you don't want it to end. Smoke and Mirrors closes with the positive, uptempo message of grrrl power with "Girls Rock TOO" that will have your head bobbing and your feet stomping. 
Red Velvet Crush has been honored with accolades from the 2013 Project Backstage Midwest Rock Awards, including Female Vocalist of the Year and Best Acoustic Performance of the Year. The vocalist award doesn't surprise me, Riscoe has got pipes and knows how to control them. And there are plenty of YouTube videos of Red Velvet Crush online to back up the best acoustic award.

You can get your copy of Smoke & Mirrors this Saturday, June 15, at Czar. Doors at 5:30, show at 6:00. Red Velvet Crush will be playing with I Am Nation, Fight The Quiet (Nashville), The Amends (Colorado), and Root & Stem. Presale tickets are $5 for general admission and $10 at the door. You can also order a $15 presale ticket, which comes with a limited edition autographed copy of the new EP and a vinyl sticker. Order tickets here. Facebook event page. 

--Gavin Mac

Gavin Mac is a local musician, avid consumer of whiskey, and has a penchant for mischief. He may be lured to dark alleys with grape soda and has a plethora of socks.

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