Review: Rob Lord
VEBA is described as the first lady of Grand Central. Personally,
I give that honour to Kate Rogers, who starred in her own Kate
Rogers vs Grand Central album.
Veba is a different singer to Kate. Kate provides the sultry,
soft vocals and Veba provides the more powerful, soul vocals.
This compilation showcases Veba’s work with various Grand
Central artists, though this is mainly Rae & Christian or
Mark Rae. There’s no AIM or Jon Kennedy here.
Having seen Veba live, I can honestly say she fills the room
with her presence - her voice booms out, and she is a floor shaker.
And that’s exactly what she does here.
With the majority of the tracks, you stop listening to the music
and just hear Veba. She roars and rumbles across the tracks and
for the most part, it's music to my ears.
There are two mixes of the Rae & Christian classic, Spellbound.
The old English mix seems to lack any bite, and although it plods
along nicely, it’s a bit of a damp squid.
The other mix, the Rae & Christian Central Heating Mix,.
is much better. The music matches the pace of Veba’s delivery.
It breaks and builds to a crescendo, the classic flute section
floating over the top. This is a mix to complement Veba’s
style, and feels like a more complete song.
Rae & Christian’s All I Ask, Swansong
and Fool are all great vehicles for Veba. Her voice really
towers against the haunting beats. Beautifully produced, Veba.
Mark Rae’s Lavish kicks in slightly faster than
most, sounding up to date and with a sense of purpose Veba effortlessly
soars over the breaking beat and samples. This is classic Grand
Central. Mark Rae cuts the tune in and out, up and down. Excellent.
On the other two contributions from Mark Rae, Without You
Now and Fold or Flower, Veba steals the show.
I can’t remember the music; I just have Veba’s vocals
bouncing off the walls inside my head. If I’m forced to
remember the music I’d say Without You Now is slowed
down disco ditty and Fold or Flower is a faced paced
disco ditty, but does that really matter?
Tony D’s only contribution, Don’t Want To Lose
You, is a more sombre affair. Veba is toned down, preferring
to almost whisper at times. More tortured, it adds balance against
the mainly upbeat nature of the CD.
Fingathing don’t do vocal tracks, so Slippin is
their only one.
The typical bass line plucks and cuts through the beats. Veba
rises above and fights the bass. She adds the lighter part to
a dark track. The chorus absolutely blows through the speaker.
There’s just something about that double bass of theirs.
If this CD is about Veba, then this track is about Fingathing.
Veba makes her appearance, but in the end she’s blown away.
I can’t get enough of that bass.
Only Child gets a look in with Addicted, all squelching
bass and off key piano. This is not his finest moment and feels
a bit too Saturday night for my liking.
Veba vs Grand Central will take you on a journey through
old Grand Central to new, through beats to disco, all the time
ensuring that Veba remains consistently on form.
My only complaint is that I have most of these tracks. There’s
not a lot new here, though if you’re a first-timer who wants
to meet Veba, then this provides a perfect introduction.