By forming the template from which most art-rock bands would follow, The Velvet Underground were perhaps the most influential and important indie rock act ever. Their 1967 debut can still surprise those hearing it for the first time even after 35 years. The ballads - with the exception of 'Sunday Morning' - were intoned by Nico and her impossibly deep voice adds chill to 'All Tomorrow's Parties', 'I'll Be Your Mirror' and the outstanding 'Femme Fatale' where the meandering bass guitar certainly makes the hair stand up on the back of the neck. The ballads were about as conventional as the Velvets got though with much of this album being deliberately discordant ('European Son' being particularly hard work) and lyrically controversial, none more so than 'Venus In Furs' where John Cale's electric viola is used most impressively alongside Lou Reed's snarling tale of submission and domination; it's main shock value though is the strength of its most unusual melody. From here the group went on to produce two more highly influential albums: 'White Light/White Heat' straying even further from convention and being almost proto-punk whilst 'The Velvet Underground' demonstrated their more adult concerns and the fact that it's possible to write love songs whilst still being strictly 'indie'. However, this is the album where history started.
NB The reissued version of this album includes singles, mono and stereo mixes of the original album and tracks from Nico's 'Chelsea Girl' album.