Thursday, November 12, 2009

The Venue - Mmhm! (Bella Union, 2002)

Upon receiving this compact disc, I immediately tore into it. Literally. Confused by the non-traditional packaging, I shredded the cover in bits and pieces until my failing paws were clutching the silver 'n' gold goodness of plasticity. Luckily, no audio damage was done to the twelve tracks from this youthful bunch (save for the grandfatherly figure holding a snare drum) of Swedish garage-rockers. Along with The Hives' Veni Vidi Vicious and The Soundtrack Of Our Lives' Origin Vol. 1 -- two other classics served up from the land of Bjorn Borg this decade -- The Venue's debut album hoists the blue 'n' yellow flag in the faces of rock 'n' roll cognoscenti throughout Scandinavia and beyond. Tapping from the same wells of their fellow countrymen (Beatles, Kinks, Zombies, Hollies, etc.), this listener's only course of action is to salute.

Speaking of national pride, Mmhm!'s lead-off title track was used as background music for the Swedish handball team's section of the national Sports TV annual review. Huh? With minor vocal inflections, the harmonica-driven raver kicks like an inebriated Pretty Things/Yardbirds practice session that's sure to motivate Sven Lastnameunknown and the other fellows in Beijing come August. "So Much Too Much" reveals how dedicated followers of fashion are faring these days ("Look at the diamond rings in her lips/And the one in her nose"). Don't know exactly "What's In His Head?", but swimming in the self-absorption are sticky Fab Four-ish choruses that impress with every stroke. "Deep-Fried Sinfulness" has a Marlboro-smoking DJ who can't stay confined to a studio. If the Hives-like power chords and carefree attitude are a barometer of his playlist, then I'll see him at the next live remote. Would somebody please fix the time machine in "Instant Pleasure"? I mean, the great hook around the 2:30 mark transports me to when the Stones were more pop 'n' jangle than rough 'n' tumble, but "1995, we're almost there" would mean enduring the likes of Dishwalla (the whitest band of all-time?) and Pearl Jam rip-offs for a second time in my existence. Moods for Mod-erns in "Sentimental Ode (O.D.)" include "sudden attacks of happiness." The scratchy vinyl tics and plenty of alcohol make life for commitment-phobes "too good to waste on thinking." "Love Monster" doesn't smear his lover with grease or EVOO (in case it's Rachael Ray), though he serenades his woman with enough fuzz to break up a drug ring.

Mmhm = Ymym. U figure it out.
- Gunther 8544

No comments: