What’s in a name? Velvet & Stone almost suggests a kind of iron fist in a velvet glove template. While the velvet comes from rich vocals and refined instrumentation, the stone is more of a smooth wave-worn pebble, polished even - not anything toward a jagged hard rock edge.
So who are they? The trio of Lara Snowdon, Holly Jo Gilbert-West and Kathryn Tremlett and their small violin/guitar army are joined by the multiple instruments of Jack Henderson and long standing Seth Lakeman band member Ben Nicholls, along with one time Seth-ite percussionist Andy Tween. Between them they’ve concocted a set of songs combining a myriad of influences and sounds.
Take Fisherman’s Blues, which appears as dreamy Pink Floyd gone folk rock with a bit of The Doors piano tinkling on the edge. Its relaxed vibe provides a common element throughout the EP.
At times the arrangements seem stark yet remaining subtle, with Forget About The Rain shifting the vibe towards a touch of melancholy with some lovely lap steel guitar.
Things move more up tempo on Patchwork, which could easily fit into the Keston Cobblers’ Club songbook, and then Same Old Record goes all jazz and swing; fans of Mawkin’s The Ties That Bind might even find themselves singing “I mean to get jolly well drunk I do” at some point.
The title track is the most delicate piece; the squeaking sound of fingers on guitar strings makes it even more intimate - the addition of the occasional rumble of piano notes or fiddle floating in now and again adds to an other-worldly feel. There’s plenty in The Storm to intrigue and draw in listeners old and new.Mike Ainscoe
Released in April 2016.
1. Fisherman’s Blues
2. Forget About The Rain
4. Same Old Record
5. That Road
6. The Storm