Editor's Rating

Montreal man's decade-long honing hits the sweet spot in between shoegaze, Pebbles and Flying Nun

7

IT’S an album that’s been even longer in the creation than My Bloody Valentine’s legendary Loveless.

Five years to write, five years to record and hone; but finally Montreal psych-shoegaze perfectionist Paul Kasner is poised to release Venus Furs’ self-titled debut LP.

Paul says: “”This album has been a long time coming, and I could not be more excited to be releasing it – although it’s hard to tell whether releasing an album in the middle of a pandemic is a great idea or not.”

Paul-as-Venus Furs has quietly sculpted his musical iteration, refining and determining exactly what the band was; he has taken support slots with the likes of Essex musical polymaths The Horrors and The Twilight Sad in his native Canada during that crafting.

“This album, for all intents and purposes, is just a huge experiment in dealing with minutiae,” Kasner says – and what you get for those years of careful scrimshaw is the perfection of imperfection.

It’s not overproduced into sterility; the guitars, and oh! There’s plenty of guitars, feeding back and thrashing out chords, echoed and twangy in riffs – is a dark-edged garage rock album that to me often recalls the very best of the Flying Nun and associated Australian and New Zealand acts of the late 80s: think The Verlaines, early Chills, Straitjacket Fits: passion first. 

Opener “Chaos and Confusion” is built around a pretty, echo-laden, strummed chord progression. It’s a little Elephant 6. “Fire in Her Eyes” is built around organ haze and scouring guitars that break out to a mournful brass motif that has that klezmer quality of Neutral Milk Hotel. 

The crackers in this set for me are “Friendly Fire” and “Living in Constant”. The former is a real odyssey for those of us who love slightly nasty things being done to the humble guitar. The opening passage quickly leads us into a double-time shift, guitars a-squallin’ in a rather pleasingly shoegazey way; wordless backing vocals, drenched in reverb, all Joe Meek. The guitar storm drops only to come again, redoubled, over its seven minutes.

“Living in Constant” springs from a slow bass figure into a low-slung, desert-dust riff, which itself falls into gorgeously atonal chord scouring and shoegazey atmospheres. 

Closer “Page Before” is probably the straightest Pebbles garage-rawker of the seven-track set. It piles up the Count Five and The Flamin Groovies and dons its leathers, before hitting high-up-the-neck shoegaze chaos-beauty at the end.

It’s a fun set. It’s not shy of distortion or the raw beauty of the electric guitar and the murderous sounds that can be coerced from it.

It may also not be as long until we hear more from Paul who, looking back at the debut set and forward, commented: “This album is like a time capsule of my twenties – written over a five-year period and meticulously crafted and recorded over another five. Fortunately, I managed to write most of my follow-up album in that time, too.”

Venus Furs’ self-titled LP will be released on July 10th on vinyl and digital formats on Silk Screaming Records. To pre-order, visit https://venusfursmusic.bandcamp.com/album/venus-furs