Venn: showing all possible logical songs between a finite collection of different tracks

2nd March 2017

Title: Runes

Label: Full Time Hobby

A trio consisting of Ben Leverock, Stuart Gardham (who met in 2013) plus the later addition of John Petrie, the group offers a sound that betrays influences. And if they were not influences, then they should have been. Firstly, there’s a motorik krautrock beat that is insistent and fixed that not only drives the music but also provides a strong foundation to each song. Next, there’s a highly textured, slowly strummed guitar that makes one think of The Cure in terms of the classic track, The Forest. The feeling of that guitar is present here. There’s also the essence of David Sylvian’s Japan in parts (only parts) of the arrangements. Mainly because the songs vary in pace and energy with the lead-off song. Legacy Project being moody and consistent but Real Blood having a great post punk feel to the vocal delivery (with that Cure-like guitar thing active in the background…although you can add The Passions to that list).

In fact, listening to this album, you’re constantly being reminded of post punk (or maybe more new wave?) groups that have somehow invaded the style and form of each Venn song. That’s not a bad thing, in fact the blend of invasive influences and more modern vocal deliveries add a certain frisson to the end product.

Overall, the band sound in control, confidant and professional: like an actor whose rehearsed for a part, Venn sound like they’ve been ready for this particular band gig for years but they also sound like they’ve stepped out of the past. This is a band that should have been around in 1983 or thereabouts. There is a slick, professional, thin tied, small short collared, side part hair styled, simple jacketed, minimal movement feel about the music. Simple and direct but very, very good indeed.