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Dance Beat
by Gregg Shapiro
2003-04-30

This article shared 3189 times since Wed Apr 30, 2003
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The four nectar-sweet songs on Venus Hum's 2002 EP Hummingbirds got my attention and made me long for something more substantial from the Nashville-based electro-pop trio. Yes, I said Nashville, as in Tennessee. The title of Venus Hum's 12-song full-length major-label debut album, Big Beautiful Sky (MCA), is a reference to singer Annette Strean's birthplace, as is the blip and thump of the unlikely named song 'Montana.' On a number of tracks, including 'The Bells' and 'Sonic Boom,' Strean sounds a bit like a direct descendant of Bjork's, bending and stretching her voice into all sorts of exotic shapes. Kip Kubin and Tony Miracle keep the dynamite dance beats coming, inspiring a lot of arm waving and shoulder shaking, especially on 'Soul Sloshing,' 'Lumberjacks' (with its Kraftwerk-esque keyboards), and 'Springtime #2.' After hearing the aforementioned numbers you can understand why electroclash godfather Larry Tee would want to align himself with Venus Hum. Be forewarned that there is a religious element to a couple of songs ('Wordless May,' for instance), but it's more Innocence Mission than Spanish Inquisition.

Listeners expecting Felt Mountain, Part Two, will be surprised, and perhaps even delighted, to find that Alison Goldfrapp and Will Gregory have moved on to the next level on their new album Black Cherry (Mute). Verdant opening track, 'Crystalline Green,' combines the lush cinematic quality that made Felt Mountain so spectacular with an electroclash beat that begs for movement. The locomotive 'Train' continues the forward motion. Fans who were initially seduced by the ethereal quality of earlier Goldfrapp tunes should be sated by the hypnotic title track. The ironically named 'Tiptoe,' on which Gregory assumes vocal duties, sneaks into your body and makes you want to do things you'd never previously considered. As with the titular number, the sticky and gooey 'Deep Honey' and the eternally lovely 'Forever,' remind us of how Goldfrapp initially got us to listen to them. Longtime fans will have to get used to sharing Goldfrapp, however, because songs such as the Ruby reminiscent 'Twist' and the persistent punch of 'Strict Machine,' are going to appeal to a whole new segment of listeners. The audio orgasm of 'Slippage,' for instance, will have those who can tie cherry stems into knots with their tongues, crawling out of the woodwork and heading for the dance floor.


This article shared 3189 times since Wed Apr 30, 2003
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