[sic] Magazine

The Veldt – Illuminated, 1989

The Veldt were an alternative/dreampop/shoegaze band from Raleigh, NC. Founded in 1986 by two brothers and named after a novel by sci fi luminary, Ray Bradbury, The Veldt stood out at the time by incorporating elements of soul and gospel into their work. After opening for Cocteau Twins, the band went on to work with Robin Guthrie, a much sought after producer at that time. However the resultant album was subsequently put on ice by the label who wouldn’t release it.

As such, some things that should not have been forgotten…

…were lost.

History became legend. Legend became myth, etc (you know the drill)

Fans of both bands and indeed the wider shoegaze scene remained hopeful the Guthrie production might someday get a release. Fast forward 24 years and in early 2023 The Veldt teased exactly this by dusting off ‘The Everlasting Gobstopper’ (see below) Now sees the full release of Illuminated, the Holy Grail Veldt album, containing ‘Everlasting Gobstopper’ and much more.

Ordinarily I might steer well clear of ‘copycat’ acts. You want that sound…..you already have it, right? That’s just me. Other opinions are available and I know that some people cannot get enough of it. It also has to be said that The Veldt did what they did exceptionally well. Chorusy, pitch-shifted guitars more than just evoke their illustrious producer, he may even have played on them. Vocally too there’s an exultant yelp that bears close approximation to the inimitable Liz Fraser, (who actually does appear on the album providing backing vocals).

The Veldt were on to something when they made Illuminated and the effect was somewhere between Q Lazzarus and Lush. It seems bizarre to me that the album was shelved. Some of its best tracks are the more unheralded ones. ‘Willow Tree’ and ‘Daisy Chain’ show a tad more restraint than many of the wall of sound bands of that era and allow the songs themselves to breath a bit.

In addition to making this fabled ‘lost’ album, The Veldt were also significantly influential for future acts such as Bloc Party and TV On The Radio. Whilst there were notable exceptions, the world of shoegazing and dreampop, certainly that original UK scene, lacked diversity. It’s a bit surprising when you think of, say, Jimi Hendrix or indeed… you know… the whole darned history of rock and blues music. Yet the fact remains The Veldt, like A.R Kane, were pioneers. We have that to be thankful for as well as this glistening new (old) album.

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