All is Illusory
In the early 2000s, Santa Rosa's The Velvet Teen seemed poised to become, if not the next big thing, at the very least a next big thing. The band's first full-length, 2002's Out of the Fierce Parade, set the band squarely on a path to indie rock stardom, with its huge melodies and a tastefully guitar-driven sound supporting frontman Judah Nagler's impressively melismatic vocal delivery. But the band had other plans. The Velvet Teen's next two albums, Elysium and 2006's Cum Laude! (the latter being the first to feature current drummer and former Chicoan Casey Deitz) were notable for sounding not a whole lot like the band's previous work, or each other. Nine years later, The Velvet Teen has come full circle. All Is Illusory successfully blends the experimental approach of later records with the pop sensibilities of the band's early efforts for a juggernaut album. Deitz's drumming has emerged as an equally compelling lead instrument, complementing Nagler's refreshingly unobscured vocals. The band still takes plenty of chances musically, such as the 10-plus-minute “Taken Over.” But All Is Illusory is the sound of a band whose members have nothing left to prove beyond, perhaps, that they can still write a hell of a rock song.