Review Summary: The Venetia Fair welcomes you to their own warped, distorted circus.
Listening to a The Venetia Fair record is truly a surreal experience. Never before in my life have I listened to an album and felt such a strong correlation to a place/space in time than when I first laid ears upon their debut album The Circus. I closed my eyes and before I knew it I was transported to an entirely new and distinct arena, surround by clowns on stilts juggling bowling pins and trapeze artists soaring over my head. The Venetia Fair could be best described as a post-hardcore band that implements instruments and song structures that would not be out of place in a circus circa 1920. Although this description may cause quite a few to steer clear of this album, I assure you that this album is the perfect mix of passion and melody; chaos and structure. Although The Venetia Fair have not exactly progressed their sound from their debut album, Every Sick, Disgusting Thought We’ve Got In Our Brain
still seems as novel and creative as any release thus far this year.
Every Sick, Disgusting Thought We’ve Got In Our Brain starts off calmly, with timpani drums, trumpets and falsetto vocals before abruptly snapping the listener out of the false sense of security into the realization that they are in for a record full of starts and stops with countless twists and turns. Album opener "Too Late To Dream" acts as a microcosm for the entire album, complete with melancholy lyrics and complicated guitar riffs coupled with sharp piano lines and a bevy of distinctive instrumentation. It takes but one listen to be transported to the aforementioned circus scene.
While the instrumentation mirrors a circus the same cannot be said for the lyrics. Lyrics on tracks such as "(II)The Dirt Won’t Keep Your Secrets" or "Bleeding A Stone" almost completely contradict their instrumentation, as both tracks have dark, malevolent lyrics. As the album progresses, so does the listeners descent into the dark abyss that is the mind of lead vocalist Benny Santoro. The vocal style of The Venetia Fair is one of the most unique aspects of the entire band, and that is truly saying something. One moment Santoro sounds like Jerry Jones of Trophy Scars, only to find himself sounding as though he could fill in for vocals on a Panic At The Disco track ten seconds later. Santoros’ schizophrenic performance acts as a perfect partner for the spastic instrumentation found on every single track.
Although every track is intense in execution, The Venetia Fair still knows how to slow themselves down. "Only In The Morning" and "(III) Go On, Paint Me A Picture" are tracks that could be near ballads, all while containing The Venetia Fair’s trademark energy. As it just so happens to be, Only In The Morning is one of the strongest of the 13 tracks present on this release. Starting off soft and emotional, the song progresses to what would be considered a ‘typical’ The Venetia Fair before traveling down a road full of more twist and turns than one could think possible. Although the song does not deviate from a typical time signatures, tempos are constantly varied from chorus to verse to whatever happens next. These constant tempo changes manage to make the final chorus at half tempo seem too dramatic to critique its clichéd nature.
If there was ever a band that could claim a lack of genre, The Venetia Fair is that band. Without any preconceived notions of what they should sound like, their sophomore release is without a doubt a step in the right direction. Where other bands take it upon themselves to completely reinvent themselves from album to album, The Venetia Fair instead opts to tweak their already unique sound only slightly, resulting in a record that will more than likely turn heads, something that The Venetia Fair undisputedly deserves.