Venn is a dreampop/shoegaze band hailing from Virginia consisting of Holden Cihelka, Gabe Earle, Jon Fetahaj, and Julian Earle. Sometimes, you happen across bands unexpectedly that just blow you away. Venn is one of those bands. This four song EP is impressive and reminds me of the sort of impact The Daysleepers had on me when their first EP arrived on the scene. The EP was released on February 22 and is now creating buzz in shoegaze circles.
The EP begins with “Surreal”, a track Venn released as a teaser to their EP earlier in the month. It is an impressive debut for this band and the expectations were high based on this one song. I have to say, Venn have not disappointed. “Surreal” is a mid-tempo, all out dreampop song with soaring, reverbed-out guitar, and penetrating percussion. The bass work here is impressive as well, with in-the-pocket play and great phrasing choices. The vocals are striking as they go in and out of the mix, getting buried in walls-of-sound at times. Further, they also verge on the Morissey-esque in the quieter moments in terms of the phrasing. “Weekday” begins with fuzzed-out bass that sets the tone for the rest of the track. There is a tumult of swirling, fuzzed-out guitars with thumping fuzzed-out bass. The vocals are recessed into the mix, reminding me of The Daysleepers. The band crafts a dream world, deep and ethereal, with layers churning about that are spacy and bright. This is a shoegaze tour de force.
“Maybe I’m a Liar” has intricate percussion and impressive bass work. The vocals weave a dreamy tone over splashes of glistening guitar and almost trip-hop drums. This track just sticks in your head and won’t let go. The grooves and hooks are perfection, and they are housed in a shoegaze space that is exquisite. Further, even though there are swirling guitar walls here as well, the band presents intricate guitar work within them and shows off their musical prowess. The impressive “Maybe I’m a Liar” leads into the equally impressive “Someone Else”, which begins with pounding drums and gorgeous guitar lines. After the intro, the tempo slows and careful, pensive vocals sit over shimmering guitars and punchy drums and bass. As the chorus approaches, the band builds to a faster tempo. This is a much longer song, clocking in at 6:01, and the time changes throughout, along with the sonic variations, give the track a wonderful feel. Further, the bridge is a glorious conversation between guitar lines and phrases. The finish to this all too short EP is impressive and leaves the listener begging for more.
Sometimes a band comes out of left field and just blows you away. Venn is definitely one of those bands. If these four songs are any indication of what this band will be bringing to the table later, the world is in for a treat. I don’t make comparisons to The Daysleepers to diminish anything that Venn has done here. I mean the comparison as a complete and utter compliment. I remember first hearing the Hide Your Eyes EP in 2005 and being enthralled. This has been my experience with the Venn EP and I can’t wait to see what comes from Venn next. Honestly, I know it’s very early in the year, but this EP will likely stick around in top EP of the year lists for 2017. It’s that good. Support the band and buy a digital download from their Bandcamp. I’ve also been told that cassettes are forthcoming, so watch out for those as well.