Nashville is known for its rich historical traditions and its monopoly on the country music industry. But the city's recent exports would have the town painted a completely different hue if it was up to them. During the last few years, a different breed of Nashville artist has emerged—performers like Josh Rouse, Kings of Leon and Venus Hum. But Venus Hum has nothing to do with Nashville's past.
Actually, that’s not completely true. Although, their analog-synth-driven music doesn’t sound anything like Nashville, it isn't all bleeps and noises either. Venus Hum is, first and foremost, a songwriting band; then they’re a techno-pop band. Living in (Country) Music City has helped them to keep their feet planted on the songwriter’s ground Nashville is famous for.
Big Beautiful Sky was released in April on MCA after Venus Hum put out some independent work for its hungry Nashville following. The band’s buzz hasn't fallen on deaf ears and neither has its record. Venus Hum was recently featured on Ifilm.com for its video of the booming single “Hummingbirds,” electroclash magnate Larry Tee invited the band to play his Electroclash Festival last year and there're rumors of possible work for the show Alias.
Venus Hum consists of Kip Kubin, Tony Miracle and Annette Strean; the latter two utilize hip mac/analog-synth setups and Strean handles almost all the vocal duties. Venus Hum is original, but obvious influences emerge. At times the music sounds like watered-down Bjork but that’s a good thing; sometimes Bjork needs to be watered-down for accessibility's sake.
Big Beautiful Sky is fun and danceable, moving and sweet. Strean sings with a child-like innocence, dreamy and nostalgic but booming enough to display her talent against the synthphonic pop of her bandmates. On the chorus of “Soul Sloshing” Strean laughs heartily, absolutely pinpointing her personality. “Wordless May,” in all its sentiment, is gorgeous lyrically— “the words of wordless may sing a song to me … dear Jesus make me simple, strong as trees that sway and give me arms wide open with a beautiful way, just like wordless may.”
The dream-pop, electroclash sound may be slightly trendy at the moment, but if Venus Hum gets lumped into the category, it'll be a tragedy. As The Beatles showed, the goal of pop is to be fun but emotive and, in that way, Venus Hum’s music stands completely on its own. Nashville, your future is written.