(review by jerry kranitz from Aural Innovations)
Pocket Venus is a new Welsh band that came our way from Neil Crud’s Secrets Of Sound label. If this 4-song EP is any indication of things to come then I’m hot for more because these guys have the makings of a killer band. Pocket Venus incorporate elements of space rock and psychedelia into what is really a solid kick ass rock band.
The opening track, “Through Your Day”, reminded me of Porcupine Tree with its acoustic guitar, gorgeous electric guitar licks, and trippy synths. Maybe a bit like Sky Moves Sideways only this is a fuller band sound and an actual song rather than an extended excursion. Very nice. “Rollercoaster” is another great song with killer crashing guitars. These guys do a great job of backing their songs with excellent music. “Like You” opens ballad style but with bubbling space synths and a slow guitar that builds the intensity level. “Like You Too” is an instrumental follow up to “Like You” that goes into kick ass rock heaven with shimmering, wailing, and screaming guitars and symphonic keys. A beautiful blend of space, psychedelia, and blow-your-face-out rock music. The production is excellent producing a full guitar assault sound that gives power to the music. It’s like Sons Of Selina when their they’re in full rock out mode, an analogy I mention because Neil Crud from that band produced Pocket Venus. Recommended.
(from The Crud Diaries) –
That night turned out to be the most expensive drinking session of my life, a tide of lager consumed at the Breeding Ground swept me towards Pocket Venus and I drunkenly suggested that if they paid the recording costs I would fund a single for them. Having decided to rejoin the scene after effectively ending the Sons of Selina and try and dictate it from my website for the last six months I toyed with the idea of putting out a compilation LP of local bands. Awaking next morning I realised in my drunken splendour that I had offered to release a single for a band I hardly knew and regretted it as soon as my fuzzy head cleared. I hoped and I prayed that Chris Yates was also too drunk to have heeded my call. My phone rang, ‘Neil, if you produce the single, we’ll record it live in one night and mix it on another.’ Six weeks on and the band and myself were still leaning over the mixing desk and Pocket Venus lived in my pocket from then on.
In and around recording and mixing (with Martin Wilding engineering), PV were picking up more gigs through link2wales local contacts, such as festivals like Pigstock, Conwy and Wakestock. Their live set was verging on legendary, you knew that Steve will never play the same thing twice as he lay his guitar on the stage, took out a revolver, pointed it at the guitar and told it to dance. What a mover! The band, ever so conscious of their actual playing would remark on a catalogue of mistakes they made, whereas playing a duff note or a miss-timed chord will linger for an eternity on stage, off stage, if noticed, it’s gone in a flash. It doesn’t matter and in fact adds that bit extra and proves the band are actually human in that awful age of sequenced drums, sequenced synths, sequenced guitars, sequenced dancing and no doubt sequenced dressing room groupie sex.
I used to follow The Damned as a spotty teenager and in their earlier wild days, each gig was a chaotic affair, with that element of surprise always lingering over their set. Through the years, particularly after the Top 3 hit Eloise they became so polished you couldn’t distinguish between them and their records. I stopped going to their shows, there was no point, as they were highly professional and for a regular it became boring. Which is why it was important for bands like PV to continue to leave that rough diamond edge to their live performances and let the studio recording show every intricate detail of their song-writing and productive prowess. Songs that make every receding hair on my head stand on end are few and far between. That chord change half way through Catatonia’s Road Rage was the last one to do it for me until the follicles were again aroused on hearing the live performance of the forthcoming Pocket Venus single Shadow of Doubt (later renamed Through Your Day). There was not a shadow of doubt that the same would happen to you on its release. By November 2001, I was summoned up to the Yates’ household for a band meeting; these guys took everything serious when it came down to Pocket Venus, they’d rehearse three times a week, gig or no gig. They sat me down and asked if I would be their manager. I knew the lines of the conversation that must have gone on leading to this. ‘Look, I know he knows fuck all, but he’s enthusiastic. Let’s use him and his money to get us onto the next level.’