October 24, 2007

Hey Venus!

4 out of 5 stars

Think back to the 1990s and the tireless wave of brit-pop acts, albums and bands that bombarded the charts with spirited and political music. Looking around today, it is astonishing how many of them have disappeared from the music scene and embarrassing how many of them have attempted come-backs that have been monumentally disappointing. One band which has always remained on the peripheries but consistently regarded in critical and public opinion is the Furries. This, their eighth studio album in the English language, is unlikely to reach the same chart success as their most popular album to date, “Rings Around the World” but is nonetheless an admirable, eccentric and astounding release.

One thing that I will say against it, which is not really much of a muchness anyway, is how horrific the album art is. There’s not a lot you can say in its defence because it looks like the vomit produced after an acid binge. But please look past it because you will most definitely be rewarded. The quirky intro, “Gateway Song” is almost a throwback to classic 60s rock’n’roll with delightful keys skipping about underneath. The forthcoming single release, “Run-Away” sounds like an homage to the soul singers of the 50s and conjures images of the American diner, jukeboxes and do-whop. In the same ilk, “Carbon Dating” provides one of the highlights of the album, and is reminiscent of an old school slow-dance in the gym, with a delightful melodic warmth and frankly bizarre beginning which sounds like a carousel.

Their first single release was “Show Your Hand”, which sounds like the sweet and feel-good type of song that should underscore a filmic, dream-like sequence where two lovers frolic through rainbows. Entering into the land of the eccentric are songs such as “Baby Ate My Eightball” and “Battersea Odessey” which are so weird and exciting that they cannot fail to charm you. Their more conservative indie-rock songs, like “Neo Consumer” have integrity and catchy rhythms that will literally have you bouncing and bopping in your seat. One aspect of the album certainly doesn’t wash and that’s the idea of its concept. The album apparently charts the events and life-lessons learned during a young girl’s [Venus’] foray into the city. Although this doesn’t really translate, the album still stands as a light-hearted analysis of society with instrumental undertones suggesting danger, violence and passion. Da iawn boys!

- Carys Esseen

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