reviewed by Kaitlin Ruether
Venus dance on the edge of adult and disco — two genres that at first could seem to conflict with each other, but thrive when popping beats melt into liquid vocals. Like riding your bike home half-drunk from the beach, it’s an experience that is both childlike and full of responsibility. In a show of perfect balance, Venus blend lyrics like, “I’m not casual or kind enough to love you like I do” with experimental percussion and smooth, floating vocals for the effect of mature, melancholy reflection with an occasional dance twist.
Opening their self-titled EP with a song that mourns the demise of a relationship, Venus dig into distance with “Excavation” and use minimalist instrumentation to focus on clear vocals. Here, the lyrics are on display — and why shouldn’t they be with imagery like, “Was I just capital / When you punctured my evening / The ink rushed out along the keys”. On “Medallion” and “Girl Divided” we hear Venus’ love for playing with percussion. “Medallion” is all the twinkling and fading of stars before the sun rises, while “Girl Divided” feels like the heart of the album. The lyrics become specific and melancholy while a lofty guitar harkens back to the smoothness of 80’s yacht music.
“Cry Baby” is the most upbeat track on the album, and would be a hit with those who enjoyed Stars’ disco-infused No One Is Lost. Snappy, bursting rhythm becomes a driving force as the vocals reach their most melodious. Two thirds into the track, the guitar brings in some joy to counter the melancholy of the album as a whole. Venus end on a note entirely different from where they started: frenzied as opposed to delicate, exposed as opposed to withdrawn.
There are some experiences that come with adulthood — appreciating the way the sky blues out the stars at 4 in the morning, or the ability to feel nostalgic for the past and hopeful for the future in the same instant — and these are the experiences that Venus evoke. Instead of being told to dance for your inner child, dance to these tracks for your current adult. You deserve it, too.
Top Track: “Excavation”
Rating: Strong Hoot (Good)