There’s no questioning the work ethic of CVC. Founded just three years ago, the Welsh psych-rock band – also known as Church Village Collective, named after their hometown – eagerly worked their way onto the scene, picking up dozens of gigs around South Wales. “It got to the point where it was obvious that everyone was thinking, ‘Oh, of course, bloody CVC are playing tonight,’” they told NME in May last year. Early signs were promising, though. Selling out Cardiff’s iconic, 380-capacity Clwb Ifor Bach with no music to their name capped a swift rise for a band with their sights set firmly on the very top.
Debut album ‘Get Real’ (following last year’s ’Real To Reel’ EP) is CVC’s vehicle to break out of a locality which has shaped their story so far. It sounds like a band smartening up – leaner arrangements, sharper songwriting – as their look takes careful flamboyance to the next level.
Eclectic single ‘Sophie’ drifts along with effortless ease, ending with a swirling declaration that keyboardist Daniel Jones is in love with the song’s shy subject; Jones’ music-loving girlfriend, who refuses to sing in front of the band. A brief voice memo – her happy cry of “you’re embarrassing me” – makes for a particularly sweet moment.
Musically, a lot of time spent listening to ‘Get Real’ involves disentangling a web of influences. Notes from The Beatles, Earth, Wind and Fire, and Supertramp float pretty close to the surface; the sound is drenched in salubrious funk one moment (‘Knock Knock’), wanders through ‘60s psych-pop (‘Winston’), and takes in more straightforward indie rock (‘Good Morning Vietnam’). ‘Get Real’ generally sounds great because it sounds so familiar.
Clues to the origins of their particularly studied sound come via CVC’s companion to their debut release, a short EP of covers for Rough Trade under the alias The RagTag Wedding Band, the band’s ‘suited & booted alter ego’. And at times, unfortunately, ‘Get Real’ feels too much like an originals set from a particularly slick wedding band.
That trait, of course, has its upsides: CVC make for a really polished outfit, supported by a loyal community, and informed by a collective, democratic philosophy that engages their audience in the musical proceedings. But the band’s mantra, “peace and love and good times, stay real, stay true and that’s it” sums ‘Get Real’ up: as focused as CVC seem on their undoubtedly promising future, here, their feel-good sound eventually loses momentum.
- Release date: January 13
- Record label: CVC Recordings