V E N N – Echoes from Foreign SpacesCultureMusicAlbum reviews
Echoes from Foreign Spaces presents a place that is not quite of this world; a kind of hyper-reality filled with endless highways, sparse, desolate buildings and perpetual twilight. Like the uncanny landscape of a video game, there is a sense of artificiality and repetition that elicits a subterranean tremor of unease.
Hailing from East London, three-piece V E N N might stand out as a rarity in the current UK music scene, however they have a host of contemporaries in Europe and the US; Black Marble, Cold Cave and Stagnant Pools are amongst the few. Their sound falls in the area of a cluster of close-knit genres that are often difficult to differentiate between (dark-wave, cold-wave, synth-wave, shoe-gaze etc) and owes a lot to the dreamier, more refined side of post-punk in the late 80s (Asylum Party, The Chameleons, Sad Lovers & Giants).
Throughout the four-track EP, there is a continual sense that we are speeding down a busy motorway led by propulsive bass lines and unrelenting snares. Changes in tempo feel like shifting gears and luminous synth becomes landmarks or lights forming on the horizon and blurring past us. The vocals (which can’t be put to a name yet as the band are wilfully shrouding themselves in mystery) seem to float above the instruments with a strange sense of autonomy, like a crystal-clear voice broadcast over an intercom.
The opening track Bigger Fiction creates a sonic space that can only be described as vast, setting off at a fast pace with bright, warped synths and distant, layered vocals crooning about loneliness and isolation like melting neon signs speeding by. Wide Open seems to follow on from the opener at a similar pace and features an addictive, sub-aquatic guitar hook reminiscent of The Cure’s A Forest.
A highlight is Throwing Stones where the track’s sparse arrangements allow the ideas to unfold gradually with a steady, constrained resonance. The vocals suggest a kind of distilled violence as the singer delivers callous assertions with a measured calm – “if it hits you down with a violent strike, I would feel no differently”.
As it stands the EP is only available to stream on Soundcloud, however the band have also been putting copies on CD-Rs, hiding them around London and posting clues as to their whereabouts on their Facebook page, so keep your eyes peeled!
There is no official release date for Echoes from Foreign Spaces, but you can follow news on the album here.