The danger of an indie band attempting to make quality music at the very onset of their career is that, usually, when a band is making its first record, it's just not that good. And that's a drawback that nearly derails the debut from this Northern California trio.
Clearly enamored with both the epic artistry of Radiohead and the lyric-oriented bombast of Death Cab for Cutie (whose Chris Walla produces here), The Velvet Teen has set its sights far beyond the beer-soaked stages the band currently peddles its wares on. Not that the group is shooting for stardom, it's just aiming to make music that's actually worth listening to.
And it almost succeeds. Swathed in luxurious production, "Out of the Fierce Parade" is an album that demands repeated, focused listening. Whether it's to process Judah Nagler's lyrics or to simply come to terms with the complex, mellowcore sounds of a band attempting to make a gently engaging attack on your musical psyche, "Fierce Parade" deserves your attention. Of course, closer attention threatens to reveal some of the band's less desirable shortcomings -- some songs are unwieldy in their adventurousness, while others simply don't ever arrive at their intended destinations -- but it also yields substantial rewards.