Immerse yourself in the hypnotic and ethereal sounds of Venus Loves Mars’ debut album, ‘VLM4EVER’, a fuzzy and psychedelic masterpiece.
After two sporadic single releases from 2021, which have helped Texan rock couple Venus Loves Mars amass homegrown audiences around Austin, Texas, the garage rock ’n’ boogie duo are now ready to release their debut album VLM4EVER on Bandcamp on July 28 (streaming everywhere from August).
Simply built around drums, electric guitar and their female-male vocals, which harmonise tenderly in a way that only a romantic couple could achieve, the album is more than the sum of its parts.
With stark instrumentation that serves to accentuate the biting memorability of the album’s riffs and rhythms, the seven tracks that fill VLM4EVER veer and careen with irrepressible style.
From their prior positions as founding members of long-defunct 90s alt-country act The Landlords, Venus And Mars’s Mac and B McAnally now invite listeners to “come get a piece of us after all these years” (as heard on ‘The Score’).
With a charming simplicity, the first three tracks of the album embrace the gentle allure of Mac’s skillfully picked electric guitar riffs, crafted note-by-note and fret-by-fret. It’s a delightful opening that sets the tone for a captivating musical journey ahead.
While having a degree of bite to it, (especially when chords enter), the amplifier that produces them is clean enough to articulate all notes with clarity, while its tonal depth enhances the punch and snappiness songs like ‘Is It Time?’ B’s primal and laidback drumming that we hear throughout the album is another groove-laden feature.
A glorious feature of the track is the McAnally couple’s contrasting vocals. B’s voice is predominant, exhibiting a smooth soulfulness peppered with sassy exuberance.
Conversely, Mac, her husband, possesses a more robust rock voice that perfectly complements grand choruses and weightier sections, particularly when accompanied by bold chords. His vocals add a powerful dimension to the music, enhancing the impact of each moment throughout the song.
They expertly demonstrate the differing sounds of their individual personalities via their vocals, but they also blend their voices to conjure harmonies that are smooth, deep, and moving.
Upon an initial listen, the album’s first track ‘Any Fool Can Be Happy’ begins with a riff that is reminiscent of the dry soulfulness of African desert blues, or the breezy desert rock of Californian artists like Brant Bjork, (formerly of Kyuss).
However, as the duo may attest, these sounds are purely Texan, but perhaps enhanced with a hispanic vibrancy from across Mexico’s border with help from their Grammy-award winning musician and producer Beto Martinez (Grupo Fantasma, former backing musician for Prince).
Discover the freshness of Venus Loves Mars for yourself by listening to the first third of VLM4EVER below:
Review by Corin Shearston