We’ve been playing queer Brooklyn based songwriter Hen’s debut EP Velvet Rage and have been totally drawn in by his originality as a songwriter and vocalist.
What sound can you expect from Hen’s EP? Well, he tells us: “I describe my work as “apocalypse-pop.” I think my whole life I’ve been searching for ways to identify this unidentifiable but essential dread I feel– that many gay men I know feel. Pop music was an avenue where I was removed enough from this anxiety to face it, and to weirdly fall in love with it aesthetically.”
Velvet Rage is a captivating release, opening with the stunning almost gothic synthpop anthem Mark My Grave. Hen packs his vocals with a powerful soul, with his immaculate annunciation shimmering atop the icy eighties-inspired synths. (No) Body blends together the very sense of pain and pleasure that Hen discusses above – conjuring up dark sexual imagery that captures the disposable nature of sex in the gay world. Hen also shines on The Light – a brooding, unsettling synth track that feels like it could be a John Carpenter composition.
The latter half of Velvet Rage contains the lighter Idol which packs a wistfulness and almost serene romanticism like a bittersweet Italians Do It Better release (think the recent Twin Peaks: The Return soundtrack). Other highlights include Go Fast which immediately gave us hints of No Doubt’s It’s My Life in terms of its sonic structure, whilst the sparkling synths of EP closer Sugar Baby had us fully charmed.
The name Velvet Rage was inspired by ” a book by PhD. Alan Downs called The Velvet Rage: Overcoming the Pain of Growing Up Gay in a Straight Man’s World. He paints a picture of gay life as one where ecstasy and pain fuse to become something greater than the sum of their parts.” This blend between pleasure and pain is something, that Hen successfully manages to convey in his music helping assert him is a bold, original queer voice.
You should also hold tight till September 4th also when Hen will be releasing his addictive release Rejection as part of his takeover of Grindr’s social accounts for New Music Frigay. We were lucky to have a listen to the track and are still fighting off its earworm of a chorus.
Connect with Hen on his social channels below: