Single Review: VENUS' 'Sour'
Ever since the birth of punk in the late 1970s there has been riot girls and boys developing the genre, experimenting, and breaking in the tough 'sex, drugs and anarchy' aesthetic.
Bands such as Biking Kill, Gina Young, Pussy Riot, L7 and Siouxsie and the Banshees, carved the way for future females and males to strut their stuff, preach their feminism and gut their guitars to sweaty rooms full of presumably proletariat commoners. Punk music was about anger and rage, but it now covers a range of topics and has combines with a range of genres; a modern evolution.
Recent bands such as White Lung, The Big Moon, Dog Party and The Regrettes have revived riot girl music to be something much more than it once was.
One of the more local-to-us bands who have partaken in one of the branches of new found punk rock music and punk culture, are VENUS; a Leeds 5-piece contemporary punk/rock/synthpop band, with angelic vocals and quite-the-opposite instrumentals.
On the 7th of June, VENUS are releasing their second single, 'Sour', with Monomyth Records, a track which combines feministic and melodic vocals with overdriven guitars and glazed pop synthesisers.
The song itself is a rollercoaster of pace changes; it slows in parts and gains slight speed in others, holding back from any sort of extreme speed throughout the whole of the song so a relatively steady pace is maintained.
VENUS' instrumentals and song structures differ a lot to stereotypical, original punk and rock’s unwritten rules (chaotic guitars and angry screaming are not present) bringing a modernised, glazed form of punk rock to our ears.
For me, the vocals are the element that sets VENUS apart the most from other modern riot girl bands, and significantly spices up 'Sour'.
Vocalist Grace Kelly's voice is very perfected and strengthened, she has such a soulful and prominent voice and I can't really help but focus on her.
She effortlessly belittles minimalism and enchants all with her bold, impressive voice in the track which is something to be marveled at. Kelly really gives the song a boost of nothing but pride and outspoken confidence, just through the sound of her voice.
One thing that I do not particularly like about 'Sour' is, well - the title. As modernistic as the track is, I just don't really think that the song contents fits with title. Generally, the single is quite positively toned and pulsing and, for me, when I think of something being sour, I think of ugly, fuzzy guitars and a voice filled with anger and complaining in vain about something being not fair, whilst chanting to ominous, pounding drums.
'Sour' is just not a really sour sounding track at all. To me, it displays a lot more confidence than the title and the track artwork let on.
The black and white, dystopian, Tim Burton style aesthetic for 'Sour' is attractive, however I don't think that it necessarily fits the track which is much more colourful than the monochrome visuals.
Nevertheless, 'Sour' is a solid and consistent track indeed, pairing well with the band's first release.
I think VENUS are well on their way to finding their sound and I also think that they have already found their genre, these girls know exactly what they want to sound like.
I do however also think that they may need to experiment more with artwork and titles for their songs, as sometimes going with the status quo of what is ”edgy” and popular at the moment, on the punk rock scene in particular, does not always work out well especially in early days like these.
I think VENUS just need to delve deeper into the visual side of their music, which is of course is something that comes with experimentation and time.
That said, they've found their sound, and they're totally confident with it!