Album Review: The Venetia Fair

July 3, 2011 at 10:35 pm Leave a comment

Before you read this review, there is one thing you must know: The Venetia Fair are not for the faint of heart.

If you look them up online, you’ll find videos of them smashing things with sledgehammers or lighting themselves on fire. If you go to their shows, you’ll see vocalist Benny Santoro rip out his hair or get water spit on you by keyboardist Joe Occhiuti (right after he flips you off). And if you listen to their new EP, The Pits, you’ll get lost in a whirlwind of raucous, heart-racing cabaret-style rock.

Though they’re constantly compared to the likes of Panic! At the Disco and Foxy Shazam, The Venetia Fair are an act unlike any other. They achieve something that so few bands, especially at a local level, can accomplish, and that is translating a completely insane live show into an equally energetic album. 2009’s The Circus was a beautifully crafted record that introduced listeners to TVF’s undeniably intriguing songwriting, biting lyrics and full-throttle performances.

The Pits hits the ground running with opener “I’m Still Amazed.” A lot rests on Santoro’s vocals and lyrics here, as the band has the potential to overpower him, but with his dynamic voice and catchy melodies, he becomes a driving force on this track. The second verse of the song is a stand-out moment, when Santoro’s high-speed rhyming builds up to his exclamation, “It’s like you’re some kind of goddamn sociopath!”

Track number two, “A Lady and A Tramp,” begins with a jazzy intro that recalls “Because You’re Lonely (The Circus)” from the band’s last record. The chorus is a swinging sing-a-long, complemented by a bridge filled with screams, finger snaps and horns. The pounding “Some Sort of Siren” marches along with powerful guitars courtesy of Mr. Chark and a pulsing beat from drummer Chris Constantino.

“Killing Time (To Keep the Dream Alive)” is frantic and dramatic, featuring impressive performances from the entire band. The track is a bit of a roller coaster, constantly building up and slowing down before its screeching end.

The Pits ends with a cover of “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch,” which was originally released digitally back at Christmastime. Though you might not be in the mood for holiday music now, you should still take a listen…because I guarantee that you’ve never heard a Christmas song quite like this.

Bottom line: If you live in New England, make a point to see this band (or catch them on one of their Warped Tour dates). The Venetia Fair are one of the most brilliant and eccentric bands around, and their latest creation is one of the best records of 2011.

Rating: 5/5 – A

Track Listing:

1. I’m Still Amazed

2. A Lady and A Tramp

3. Some Sort of Siren

4. Killing Time (To Keep the Dream Alive)

5. You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch (Cover)


Entry filed under: Album Review: Grade A, ALBUM REVIEWS. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , .

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