Venus Blake Travels To The Other Side Of Midnight On New LP
Venus Blake’s The Other Side of Midnight makes for quite the listening experience, and may take some getting used to before one’s fully comfortable with it. It’s certainly counterintuitive in this respect.
The vast majority of these tunes are simply a woman and her piano, almost, but not quite, alone. There’s some synth work, and there are songs where she’s joined by bass, drums, and even guitar (which she plays as well).
So why is it exactly, you’ll have to repeatedly find yourself turning the volume down, to keep from getting overwhelmed by the sheer vociferousness of the music? Because, silly nilly, Venus is just that type of artist. She goes from the melancholic, the sublime of softness, to overbearing—both on the vocals and her piano chords—instantaneously, at times. And, the thing is, one never exactly knows when that will be.
Thus, you may actually find yourself turning up the track when she goes into something like “Red Wine”. The piano part she’s playing is pretty, full of high notes and a quietude that does the cut justice. She slips in a surplus of “aahs” as background vocals, sounds really good when she harmonizes with herself in this way, and drops lyrics like “pour me an ocean, don’t know what else I can do.”
It’s fitting after hours bar music, kind of like the Pretty Woman scene when Richard Gere’s playing for a handful of people. But before long this tune turns into an impassioned plea for red wine, not as loudly as she gets on her other songs, but she definitely crunks things up over exceptional piano playing.
“Love We Lost” is actually a better example of how loud she can get when she’s worked up. Don’t let the cascading piano intro and romanticism about “can you even see the moonlight/can you even see the stars” fool you. In a heartbeat she goes from, as the old saying goes, 0 to 100, making you reach for the volume despite the fact that there’s no drums, this is far from rock—or rap, even.
There’s also other songs that are more relatable to a top 40 format. She’s outfitted with drums and bass on “Here Comes The Flood” and sounds palatable over a conventional set of instruments as the aforementioned. In that respect she covers a fair amount of ground on this release, leaving plenty room for exploring new horizons next time around.