“What Lies Beneath” with Life on Venus

I actually intended to post a totally different song from Life on Venus, which I’ll get to in a bit. But while prepping the links, I ran across “Departure,” a new four track EP just released, featuring this moody little burst of scintillating intensity titled “What Lies Beneath.” All I can say is wow! This track is a thing of deep noir and fierce beauty.

“What Lies Beneath” possesses a wanderlust brood that feels unsettlingly romantic and hauntingly nostalgic, infused with a melancholic meander, drifting inward and without, modulated into six string grinds of bursting feedback and measured severity.

It’s not a particularly fast song, more like a stroll or a saunter, the kind that resembles the walk of daydreams, lost in one’s thoughts. But it moves you nonetheless, raising the stakes in focused aural peaks, sending waves of sensation undulating throughout. It’s music that makes you feel with multiple senses. And if you play it loud enough, you will.

“What Lies Beneath” from the 2019 EP “Departure.”

So now that you’ve experienced “What Lies Beneath, I’m willing to bet most haven’t heard of Life on Venus. I ran across them by sheer accident a few years back, with their shimmery 2017 debut “Encounters,” which features the track I was originally going to write about, called “May.” Anyway, I don’t even remember how I stumbled upon them. Probably a Part Time Punks thing I heard at the Echoplex, or more likely, some random download I made, prior to my Spotify addiction. But I’m pleased to have found them. Or maybe, they found me.

By now, you might’ve guessed that Life on Venus is a modern-day dream-pop/shoegaze act. But you probably didn’t know that they’re from Russia, home of like-minded sonic-spinning kin Pinkshinyultrablast, who you may or may not recognize as well. I posted one of their tracks last year. And they’re great.

But I digress. Also, that trio tends to lean more on the electronics, while Life on Venus is more old school, sticking to the guitars and infinite layers of delay and effect. And they play to all the strengths of the genre … spacious stacks of guitar-infused reverb, vocal whispers of ethereality, cascading wall of sound feedback, and spangled chords infused with deep open percussive echoes. This is the stuff you most definitely get lost in, if you allow yourself.

So let’s talk about “May.” This one’s where I started, both figurately and metaphorically, with the evening. It’s a more traditional pop skewed slice of shoegaze, still washed in a slosh of sonic feedback and vocal effervescence, yet uplifting and filled with an aura of optimistic innocence. I guess it makes sense that this would be the spirit of new beginnings, while “What Lies Beneath” is more a reflection of the strange and uneasy times of today.

Either way, I’m really loving these two songs. And they’re just the tip of Life on Venus’ proverbial iceberg. “Encounters” and “Departure” have many more gems of exquisite noise and shimmering beauty.

You’ve already heard “What Lies Beneath.” So check out the brighter side of “May.” And if that works, keep on going.

“May” from the 2017 album “Encounters.”