Crushed Velvet Apocalypse (+Princess Holdheart EP) (Legendary Pink Dots)
CVA, released by PIAS in 1990, perhaps represents the peak of the Legendary
Pink Dots' middle-period electronic phase. The record is an assorted array
of musical feats and styles, lacking a certain cohesion that is only absent
because so many other LPD records house stronger themes. Represented here is
acoustic folk ("I Love You In Your Tragic Beauty," a foreshadowing of things
to come), pastoral ambience ("Green Gang"), scary industrial thrill
("Hellsville"), medieval dance ("Just a Lifetime"), and the impressive use
of sound effects ("The Death of Jack the Ripper"), not to mention the almost
usual new-agey mellow groove ("New Tomorrow"). Like the past few albums, an
EP from a few months earlier is tacked onto the end: "Princess Coldheart" is
a fantasy tale set to harpsichord, while "The Pleasure Palace" is a gritty,
harsh bit of disco.
Date: Sat, 19 Aug 1995 18:58:54 -0400 (EDT)
THE CRUSHED VELVET APOCALYPSE 1990: PIAS 1039
I was not exceptionally excited with this disc the first time I
heard it, but it has grown on me like ivy on an old church; now I count
it my second favourite LPD album after _The Golden Age_. The most
brilliant aspect of _CVA_ is the way that eight very different sounding
songs flow together so tremendously well. As an album it has far greater
cohesion than, say, its successor _The Maria Dimension_, and, unlike _TMD_,
this record possesses no weak songs. The mood, with a couple of very
notable exceptions such as "The Green Gang" and "Hellsville", is fairly
gentle, with relaxing synthesizer textures and excellent acoustic guitar
work. The _Trouser Press Record Guide_ called this a "creatively anemic"
record (perhaps the presence of two long, similar sounding songs "Just a
Lifetime", and "New Tomorrow" led them to this conclusion), but that
analysis couldn't be more wrong; the songwriting is orginal, catchy, and
absolutely first rate. Here's a song by song rundown......
I LOVE YOU IN YOUR TRAGIC BEAUTY The Pink Dots start the album in
perhaps the most unexpected way possible: a touching, unironic love song
played on acoustic guitar. Edward's heartfelt lyrics are wonderful, and
there is excellent use of flute, clarinet, and what sounds like an
THE GREEN GANG Sitar, dripping water sounds, and percusiion open it.
Slinks along wonderfully for a few minutes, breaks into a strange
electronic interlude, and then settles down to the main line: a simple
beat and Edward's subtly distorted vocals interrupted by terrifying
bursts of noise. One of the finest LPD songs ever.
HELLSVILLE Frantic, uptempo electronically based, with thumping
percussion and Edward's wonderfully insane voice. Perhaps a little
grating, but undeniably catchy.
HELLOWEEN Bizarre short noisy instrumental, with the sample that would
later appear on "City of Needles" on _Shadow Weaver_.
THE SAFE WAY Mid tempo, calm, metallic synths and gentle vocals. Good,
and a nice change from the last few songs.
JUST A LIFETIME Medieval harpsichord sound, with poppy keyboard and good
bass work. Long with a break midway through, but very good, and once
again, very catchy.
THE DEATH OF JACK THE RIPPER Minimal instrumentation: an ominous
synth-bass with shards of guitar and a variety of very scary samples.
A wonderful sonic portrait of a dark London street..... Very scary, and
NEW TOMORROW The longest song here with soft synths and percussion, and
excellent flamenco guitar. Breaks into a chaotic electronic interlude
midway through. The lyrics end the album with a concluding hopeful tone
that offsets much of the despair that has gone before. Excellent.
PRINCESS COLDHEART EP
PRINCESS COLDHEART: Quite simply one of the greatest rock songs of all
time. Medieval lyrics and flavour with a harpsichordy synth and a
wonderfully catchy chorus. FANTASTIC!!!
THE PLEASURE PALACE: One of the most abrasive LPD songs ever; it might
be the soundtrack to a movie set in a factory in hell. Frantic, kinetic,
with completely insane distorted Edward vocals, and a demonic guitar.
THE COLLECTOR An odd little song with acoustic guitar, reversed
percusiion and a woozy synth line. Very good, and with very funny lyrics.
You're liable to hear just about every song on this album in most Gothic
clubs in the U.S. (and probably many in Europe, too). Most of the songs are
great for ballet-inspired Gothic dancing, especially the club hits "Just a
Lifetime" and "New Tomorrow." CVA presents the lighter, more quirky side of
the Gothic scene. Even the quirky side of Goth is entrenched in darkness,
however, as CVA proves with such tracks as "I Love You in Your Tragic
Beauty" and "The Death of Jack the Ripper."
Taken from <A HREF="http://horroronline.com"> Universal Studios Horror Online </A>
Crushed Velvet Apocalypse is another masterpiece from the dots. Because most
of the stuff I've heard before by them was dominated by electronix and
violin and less guitarwork, I always wondered before how a ballad by the
dots done with accoustic guitars might sound. And CVA started with one of
the most intense and beautiful ballads, I Love You In Your Tragic Beauty.
The melody if awsome bittersweet, Ed's distant and lost lyrix about going
unnoticed by the one he loves; a great, big ballade. It ends in a grandiose
Green gang is a song I've known since seeing them live for my first time,
but on those Live gigs it just was half as long and only made of the second
part, which is pure electronic noises and screamings. For the Album version
they added a part at the begining, which reminds me with it's psychedelic
guitars and noises of very early Pink Floyd stuff (Like on the Zabrizkie
Point soundtrack) or some Beatles stuff.
Next we run into Hellsville, a song full of dissonance and violence. I
never liked that song very much, but in live versions it is a fabolous song
and in it's rebirth on the PMS single I like it much better! Helloween is
just a small soundscape, nothing remarkable. But the song "The safeway"
which closes the first side is a wonderful one. It starts dark and
atmospheric, and Ed sings about a lost life, or perhaps a lost civilization.
Then the sound gets rough and high (Obey) and Ed is screaming out. This song
is very intense again, and in my opinion Ed is singing about people that
follow a leader like blind men, always taking the "safe way" and avoiding
critical thinking, making waves, protesting what's wrong. By taking the
safe way, they also avoid their own thoughts and visions.
Side two starts with Just a Lifetime, the next big song on this album. This
song reminds me of the big artrock ages with genesis and Pink Floyd. It is
divided in different parts! It starts with those classical sounding
keyboards and turns then into a very strong beat and drums! The complete song
has a perfect arrangemant. Ed refers to a world full of poisoned nature,
about how we all are thrilled with technologies and Commercial Dreams, and
don't reconize how our planet rises into the apocalypse during all this. The
second part is the dissonant one, with screams and mixed voices. The
beat now fades totally starts soon again in the background....and again Ed
tells about how we waited for the paradise and haven't made it ourselves! In
part three it starts as in part one again. Niels did a very intense job on
flute here. And also the percussion is awesome. Near the end of the song all
tumbles and ends into this great guitarsolo, which is really amazing. (this
parts reminds me on D. Gillmours guitarwork on the Wall album). At the end
we have Niels and Bob Pistoor on guitar again playing a double play with
Niels on his flutes! Great Song, made me wordless after first listen!
Jack the ripper is again one of those abstrct LPD songs. It is made of
sampled noises(Waterdrops, steps and whatever) It is very violent song,
firstly very slow and dark, later it explodes with all instruments and Ed's
Voices. Damn me all, out here, I know a lot of you like this one a lot, but I
still don't like it that much. Sometimes as song it is okay, but on the
album it destroys the atmosphere that was created before!
New tomorrow starts with those sampled voices and is lead than by those sad
keyboards. With his slow, but strong rhythm it crawls forward through your
ears and brains. I like this (bongo?) rythmn so much. It deals again with the
apocalyptic themes from "Just a Lifetime" (Like a sequel?) but tries to make
us all a bit hope again. It is again a song in different "parts". And it made
me wordless again.....after this loud over headphones I always need a few
minutess in silence to sort my thoughts again.
All in all CVA is one of the more "poppy" or should I say "earfriendly" dots
albums. This is one of the few dots albums I could play if I have friends at
home! And with the using of more guitars and flutes it marks the way of the
dots into their 90s sound.
The CD also includes the "Princess Coldheart" EP. Princess Coldheart is one
of my favourite LPD songs ever. With his big sound and mystik atmosphere I
always could fall into the nicest dreams with it. This song I also heard
before at a live show, and it grew so much from his first live performance!
"Pleasure Pallace is a strange one. Made of all those noises and with no
real melody it is lead by a dissonant rythmn. It is a nightmare written in
(music) sounds! The Collector is a bit similar to that, but it is more
melodic, very electronic and in my ears a very sad song. It has (the dots
seemed to love that) a bit of a waltz rythmn, but a very distroyed one! The
hall song sounds to me like someone is sitting behind a very big and dirty
glass and tries to bring his sad song to the outside. In the middle the
Waltz comes out, and all is reduced to guitar and those small keymelody!
C.V.A. is a bonus to the CD, not on the Vinyl and nore on the EP, a
soundscape of a lot off voices that were used on the album and the Melody of
"Tragic beauty", a grandiose end to a grandiose album!
This album effects me the most. It has every type of style that makes me a
dots fan. The beautiful, yet tragic love story of "...tragic beauty" the very
biblical satire of "hellsville" (I love Edward's anti-religious songs). The
thought provoking "safe way". The post apocalyptic "just a life time" the
deviant "death of jack the ripper" and the hopeful "just a life time" (my
favorite). And princess gold heart is ingenious as well.
The thing that makes this album so special is that it's kind of like a
concept album. It starts with a man seeing a beautiful woman but never can
get her attention then all hell brakes lose. The planet is suffering then
with just a lifetime the sun scorches the earth they can no longer take it so
they live underground. (Which isn't far from the truth). I think death of
jack is the killing of the killer symbolizing the problem. Then "new
tomorrow". The most beautiful song promising us a better way as we dodge the
things that got us where we were. I often look at the last page that says
"dedicated to the blessed deviant...sing louder" while I listen to this track
and I cry feeling so empathetic. A new world starts with a new leader a world
that plays by poetic rules the princess being no other than Goldheart were
only the town fool could win her heart. Pleasure palace comes in. Is this
her sexual aggression? Then comes the collector a very neat and adventurous
story of a compulsive obsessive man that collected until he collected every
thing in the world. It almost makes me feel like i, myself, accomplished
something. It is like a time of twisted clarity. But I'm not sure on how it
fits in to the story but it feels right. Then the song that always wakes me
up at night disturbed "CVA" its like a melting pot of the hole album
repeating parts of some of the songs in a bizarre tone. This album makes you
think what did the man have to lose if he were to approach the flame in his
eye. act now or it may be too late.
I love this album. I may be way off with my analysis but it is the most loved
in my collection.
"We shall see our kingdom come" we shall see.
Joseph "the coat"
One of the masterpieces and the first LPD album I got. I still wonder
where does the magic "trick" come from? You may know every single note on
it and still love it. Feels like a walk through the battlefield where
everything is damn real but nothing can happen to you. This is more than
just a CD to me. Do you also thing film noir is beautiful?
I Love You In Your Tragic Beauty
- a beautiful acoustic guitar ballad that strokes and hurts at the same
time. Beaty gives you sadness. Tears are beautiful. "And that's the way it
will always be..."
- one of the strongest. The first part with water sounds, flute, sitar and
percussion feels like a storm. When it's over, you wish it was back again.
Since here they come. Their steps, your heart, the simplest beat. Scream.
- just a step forward and the one who walks by your side is standing
behind you as an enemy. You feel like escape, but you're frozen. Your head
is full of that voice.
- breathe in for a second...
The Safe Way
- ...because only those who don't care don't face the evil. This is a very
peaceful track, but only at the first listen.
Just A Lifetime
- you wish you could hear the whole song because you feel it's more than
"just a lifetime". It starts mellow and finishes like dancing and
whistling. And there's everything between if you don't count.
The Death Of Jack The Ripper
- close your eyes, listen to the steps. In fact, they're not really here.
it's just the memory remained. "And nobody knew..."
- never improve things, always make the new ones happen. The "strings"
part somewhere in the middle is what it's all about. And then? "We shall
see..." Now you're feeling loose.
- one of the most beautiful pieces of music I've ever heard. Incredible,
no way to describe. A sort of black humor fairy tale. Or not.
The Pleasure Palace
- when carnival in Rio moves to Nagasaki. What is so unnerving here? You
never know what makes you feel so mad about this song. Another brick in
- everything changes your life, everything has it's own mystery if you
look for it. Things whisper at night, stay awake.
- so that you remember what's it all about.