Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Gold Sounds: Venice Is Sinking - Azar reviewed

Venice Is Sinking - Azar

The following is a review of the album Azar, the second full-length album by Venice Is Sinking

On Azar, Venice Is Sinking creates a cohesive work, pieced together by four instrumentals titled "Azar One" through "Azar Four," with the other seven tracks being more traditional songs. However, the most striking thing about Azar is that these instrumental tracks are the best songs on the album (especially "Azar Four" with its distorted yet beautiful piano). In contrast, the rest of the album is comprised of songs that simply aren't very dynamic and meander without any purpose, lacking the inventiveness of the instrumentals and possessing few if any interesting traits.

Every non-instrumental song prominently features dual male/female vocals, mainly used simply to harmonize both on the verses and choruses. While often times bands might use dual harmonizing vocals to heighten the emotional stakes, Venice Is Sinking's obvious penchant for harmonizing wears on the listener and makes the already meandering songs even more frustrating ordeals. The best non-instrumentals, "Young Master Sunshine" and "Charm Camp", are the ones that don't follow that formula: the former has the two vocalists singing different vocal parts at times, and the latter has actual dynamics, slowly building into an ending featuring loud, aggressive playing followed solely by piano. More songs like these would have been welcome among the other meandering ones.

Listening through the album, it's clear that the band knows a thing or two about production value. The production sounds very good and a healthy amount of experimentation (involving both studio trickery and unique instrumentation, including strings and horns) is used to make the songs seem more interesting. The only problem is that there are few captivating songs here; Venice Is Sinking strives for slowcore bliss on Azar but really just sound slow and boring, performing shells of songs. With more developed songwriting, Venice Is Sinking may be capable of creating a captivating album, but this album simply doesn't have the songs needed to comprise such an album.

Azar will be released on March 31st by One Percent Press

Listen: Venice Is Sinking - Azar is currently streaming in full on ilike.com

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