Bringing to mind the sticky floors and electric atmosphere of a bustling clubnight in a far-flung corner of Camden in the 00’s, “40 Up 40 Down” is a heady, feel-good anthem that feels plucked straight from indie-rock’s riotous glory days.
Blending danceable rock riffs with jangling percussion and chugging guitars reminiscent of the likes of Franz Ferdinand or The Hives, the new track is an intoxicating listen brimming with headstrong optimism and an indie disco primed danceability.
Continuing The Velvet Hands’ knack for finding a breezy balance between hedonistic revelry and reassuring relatability that doesn’t take itself too seriously. As the band explain:
“This track is about being made to feel worthless, but also finding worth in the fact that your friends feel the same way and that you’re not alone. It has a lot of hope and is a really fun start to the album — we wanted to make sure that the first track on ‘Sucker Punch’ showed our intent from the very beginning. Musically it’s inspired by bands like Blondie and Franz Ferdinand — we wanted to make a tune that could be played at your local trashy indie disco.”
A blistering beacon of hope and camaraderie in hard times, “40 Up 40 Down” arrives as final taster of the band’s highly anticipated second studio album ‘Sucker Punch’, with both available to stream from 3 February 2023.
Delivering coming-of-age tales with slacker-rock sensibilities, ‘Sucker Punch’ combines the punchy guitar licks of The Strokes or Parquet Courts with rousing punk choruses reminiscent of The Clash or The Vaccines. Written by Toby Mitchell and Dan Able, the album was recorded between late 2021 and early 2022 by John Logan at The Cube Studios in Cornwall and was produced and mixed by John Logan and JamX Jules at Par Studios.
Featuring earlier singles including the new-wave tinged “Telephone Love”, rousing live-ready anthem “I Wanna Be There” and the pure escapism of “Holiday In My Head” — a blistering track that grapples with “the doldrums of being skint” — the record also includes an array of previously unheard material.
From “Meet Me In The City”, one of the album’s oldest tracks that’s “made to be played in the sunshine with your mates” to anti-apathy anthem “Emotion” and “Devils Tail”, “an ode to letting yourself loose”, the album expertly blends jagged guitar-rock with engaging anecdotal songs about relationships, revelry and finding optimism in dark times.
Speaking about the release of the new album, Dan Able says:
“”Sucker Punch” is an album about frustrations, anxieties and finding optimism in modern society. Each track was relentlessly rehearsed so that we could get into a live room and slam down each track as efficiently and powerfully as possible — this was our first time in a ‘professional’ studio so we didn’t have the money to waste any time. Every snare roll and bass line was meticulously worked on for maximum effect.
These were also songs we wanted to make sense live, which is partially why we recorded them so. A yearning for the interaction of the live set; from the anxious energy of ‘Holiday In My Head’ to the blithe singalong of ‘Meet Me In The City’, this album is brimming with songs for our fans to express themselves to. We hope you enjoy.”
Mastered by the legendary John Cornfield (The Stone Roses, Supergrass, Muse), the ten-track LP will be released digitally via Jam X Recordings on 3 February. A limited edition physical release, including two bonus tracks will also be available through Blood Records following the release. The full tracklisting is as follows:
‘SUCKER PUNCH’ TRACKLIST
1. 40 Up 40 Down
2. Telephone Love
3. Holiday In My Head
5. Over It Now
6. Sucker Punch
7. Meet Me In The City
8. Anybody Out There
9. I Wanna Be There
10. Devils Tail
BLOOD RECORDS LIMITED EDITION VINYL
1. This Feeling
* * * *
The Velvet Hands are Toby Mitchell, Dan Able, Louis Mitchell and Sam Hilder. After forming amidst Cornwall’s blistering garage-rock scene, the four-piece relocated to London and have been making a name for themselves on the capital’s underground guitar circuit ever since.
Praised as being “full of bolshy spirit” by NME, the band’s self-recorded debut album was Huw Stephens’ Album Of The Week on Radio 1. Their recent releases have also caused a stir with range of tastemaker blogs including Fred Perry Subculture, Gigslutz and God Is In The TV, with the latter praising them as “brash garage punk rabble-rousers somewhere between the attitude of early Cribs or Libertines with the death and glory of The Clash.” Recent single “I Wanna Be There” was also awarded Track of the Week by The Rodeo Magazine, who said: “we wanna be wherever The Velvet Hands are because this new song is IT.”
Gaining airplay on Radio X, BBC 6 Music and BBC Introducing amongst others, the band have also supported Fontaines D.C., VANT, Wallows, Frank Turner and Paul Weller, opened for Liam Gallagher at The Eden Project and headlined stages at Isle of Wight and Y Not? Festivals.
Fresh off the back of a triumphant festival run in 2022 including a homecoming show at Cornwall’s Boardmasters, The Velvet Hands also put in an impressive performance at the Pilton Party Auditions Final where Michael Eavis hand-picked them to support at this year’s instalment of the infamous Pilton Party.
Marking the release of ‘Sucker Punch’, the band will be playing an album release show at their local venue Old Bakery Studios in Truro as part of Independent Venue Week. The Velvet Hands will also be embarking on a full UK tour in Spring 2023 also including a show at The Junction in Plymouth and their biggest headline date so far at London’s The Lexington, stay tuned for further details soon.