Venus Furs – Venus Furs
LP | DL | CD
Released: 10 July 2020
Amy Britton reviews the warm psychedelia of Venus Furs’ new self-titled album.
The emergence of a band called Venus Furs, naturally, evokes a preconceived idea of a Velvet Underground-inspired outfit. Granted, as comparisons go that is always going to be a flattering one, but for anyone concerned that we may be about to be greeted by another identikit black-clad Velvets-lite outfit will be pleasantly surprised by a sound rich, huge, and very much Venus Furs own.
If anything, they are comparable to the Von Sacher-Masoch novel that provides the origin of their name – extremely sensual and with a strange blend of dark edges with a surprising warmth buried at the centre of it. The project of Montreal’s Paul Kasner, Kasner’s own affinity with the British history books of alternative music is evident the singles they have already showcased, echoing the distorted swirls and walls reminiscent of My Bloody Valentine or The Jesus And Mary Chain.
The debut album Venus Furs builds on what is implied by those releases into something broader. Chaos And Confusion acts as opener and is the perfect introduction with the woozy psychedelic shimmer of a hoard of nocturnal fireflies. It’s a full-throttle pull into an album that is fully engrossing, a long-distance road trip through the open air. Re-occurring imagery crops up fugue-like throughout in a fashion which mirrors the deep dark warmth of the sound. Fires appear twice in track titles, with very different connotations (Friendly Fire and The Fire In Her Eyes) given a pull of unity.
The likes of Guards in The Garden, and New Inspiration, show a reflective quality to Kasner’s vocals that sits them comfortably with the walls of sound swirling around them. The tradition with this style of band of setting the voice far into the mix to escalate the soundscapes is eschewed in favour of something much more confident, as both Kasner’s voice and the cacophony of iridescent guitar comfortably interlope rather than fight for supremacy.
By the time the listener reaches the closing track Page Before, a full blown tidal wave of sensory delight has unfolded as the track rises to epic proportions. The huge finale sums up much the feel of the rest of the album and really runs with it all; it is the aural equivalent of the moment illicit contents hit the bloodstream.
The whole record is bold, ambitious and above all a synaesthesia dream. If Venus Furs was a night, it would be a night outdoors, barefoot, at the time were darkness has set in but the calendar still allows for clammy heat. It would be a night of flickers of fire, and flashes of dark, intense paranoia giving way to the warmth of sensual intimacy. Whilst the panicked paranoia of the album title is very much there, but seems to harness it these anxieties into something quite new. It’s psychedelic, but not completely as we know it, with metallic shimmers against a backdrop of darkness as opposed to a technicolour glare, and the result is completely majestic.
All words by Amy Britton – find more on her archive