The Veldt: Entropy Is the Mainline to God   |  ★★★★ | Self-released  |  Jan. 27

In many ways, The Veldt is a spot-on reincarnation of a classic psychedelic rock band. They’re named after a sci-fi story by Ray Bradbury. They favor long album titles that resemble the lysergic musings of Terence McKenna. Their pedalboards overfloweth, turning plain old electric guitar signals into a celestial roar.

At the same time, you would never mistake them for a period artifact or even a simple pastiche. After all, few classic psych-rock records have such acute real-world song titles as “Slave Ship Serenade” and “Requiem for Emmett Till,” and fewer still contain Sneaker Pimps–style downtempo electronics, a sky-stomping cover of Curtis Mayfield’s “Check Out Your Mind,” or an interpolation of the haunting hook from Mobb Deep’s “Get Away.”

Yet all of this can be found on The Veldt’s first full-length album since they reformed circa 2016. It follows a string of rejuvenated EPs from twin brothers Daniel and Danny Chavis, who grew up in Raleigh, fused dream-pop and soul in the golden age of Chapel Hill indie, and went on to have a major-label adventure in New York that bequeathed us the 1994 classic Afrodisiac, which Pitchfork enshrined as one of the 50 best shoegaze records of all time.

Now with bassist and programmer Nakao Hayato, keyboardist Micah Gaugh, and drummer Dan Milligan, Daniel’s soaring yet desolate singing and chopping rhythm guitar and Danny’s combustible leads are in fine form, captured in a potent recording that balances foursquare brawn and baroque detail. The heaviest songs have the glazed power of neo-psych bands like The Jesus and Mary Chain, but it’s tempered by the furtive catchiness of Echo and the Bunnymen and activated by the revolutionary energy of Parliament.

And check out those two alt-rock beauties in the middle, “Sweeter” and “Walk with the Spirits”—reminders of how cunningly The Veldt always toyed with mainstream success even while buffeting it with their contrarian conviction. Their references may be classic and global, but these are true American originals. 

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