Life on Venus: Departure (Shelflife Records, 2019)
If you are a shoegaze or dreampop fan, you know by now that Russia has birthed a group of artists with amazing talent. Life on Venus is one of those bands and their brand of dreamy, hazey sounds place them among the best in the genre. The band is a made up of Dima (guitar, vocals, songwriting), Ivan (guitar), Marat (bass), Lisa (vocals) and Gulya (drums). Departure is an EP they released back in April and it is a pre-cursor to the full-length coming sometime this year.
“What Lies Beneath” kicks off Departure and from the first tonal choice, you can tell this EP is going to be a set of very special songs. Dark and dreamy, smoke filled rooms with dark velvet curtains and recessed booths are evoked. The band dawns the stage under heady, purple and blue lights as fuzzy bass and mesmerizing guitars swirl through the nightclub. Drenched in reverb, the vocals whisper deep secret stories initiating the listener into a secret society. “Silver Screen” opens with some of the best bass tones I’ve heard in a long time. Deep and utterly floating, they move about over a fuzzed-out sound then pause. The band moves into the center as an apparition, a dreamy, aethereal figure leading the listener into another world. This is dreampop at its finest.
“For the Kill” entrances with a single guitar and then the tom laden drums draw in the listener to what may be the best dreampop/shoegaze track of the year so far. Lilting vocals hypnotize over an earworm of a hook that enthralls and captivates. If this is any indication of what we are in for with the full-length, we might have an album of the year on our hands. The final track is a cover of a Fawns of Love track entitled “Girls”. While I’m not a huge fan of covers, this one is exquisite and perfectly executed. Gorgeous in every way, this is a lovely conclusion to this sneak peak of what is to come in the full length later this year.
Compact and perfect, Life on Venus have produced an incredible EP in Departure. Its only flaw is that there isn’t more but the promise of a full-length, at least, is some solace that more incredible music is coming from this band that has perfected their sound. Until then, download Departure, turn up the volume as loud as possible, and soak in the grandeur that is Life on Venus.
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