Georg Altziebler and his wife Heike Binder are the driving force behind Son of the Velvet Rat. Altziebler writes the songs and sings, while Binder plays electric piano and accordion. The rhythm section is less stable, at least in membership. What is never in doubt is the quality of these songs.

Son of the Velvet Rat
(Fluff and Gravy)

Altziebler's voice lies somewhere between Mark Knopfler and Leonard Cohen, and his songs often have Cohen's elegiac quality. As strange as it might be, the best place to file this Austrian act might be in the increasingly amorphous americana category. Though that seems limiting to me.

To be sure, this isn't music for a wedding. It's not always depressing, but most songs struggle to reach midtempo, if they try at all. I'm not concerned; their beauty remains undimmed. Altziebler seems to know exactly how he wants his songs, and the execution here feels nearly perfect.

Most of the time, it takes me a while to warm up to more contemplative fare. I'm just more of a kinetic guy. But these songs immediately grabbed my attention. It took me about twenty seconds to snap into a trance. That's power wielded with astonishing precision. Do not overlook.

Jon Worley

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