The Venus Illuminato…it rolls off the tongue quite gracefully, don’t you think? I know it immediately sparked Renaissance-like images in my mind, as if it’s the name of a secret society or something. While I might have romanticized the band’s name a bit, their music is equally as intriguing.
Calling their music “psychedelic American gypsy rock and roll,” The Venus Illuminato (made up of Jamie Saunders/violin, Brandon Kennedy/guitar, Nathaniel Meek/drums and percussion, Chris Tresierras/bass, and Rob Franco/vocals) have definitely created a sound all their own.
While Children of the Earth might only be a four-song EP, each of the songs are five-minutes long or more, providing you with music that’s equivalent to about eight tracks. Each song brings you in with a lengthy intro before hitting you with undulating melodies, dreamy riffs, danceable chants and as they descriptively put it, “roaring fuzz-soaked Rock and Roll maelstroms.” Think Jimi Hendrix guitar chords and solos, passionate vocals reminiscent of classic rock maestros, mixed with sensually romantic violin strums. Then each of the tracks gracefully departs and instrumentally floats away before progressing to the next song.
“Children of the Earth” vibrantly opens the EP with some soothing vibes before it transforms into bouncing chants and catchy bass. The hand-clapped chorus of “ooooos” will have you chanting along with an impulsive clap here and there just for fun!
“Slings and Arrows” is a soft lullaby-like tune that spews classic rock vibes with lyrics that vividly become moving pictures in your imagination if you close your eyes. And just like it’s soft beginning, it exits just as softly as it came in (before it throws a bit of hard electric guitar in your face before it’s entirely done).
“Civil War Ballad” was more of a gypsy-inspired, folk-infused tune that perfectly ends the EP. With such wistful lyrics and strong, power vocals from Franco combined with moments of softness that quickly turn into edgy percussion, the ballad is a magically enchanting.
Children of the Earth’s four-track EP will leave you thirsty for more melodically psychedelic rock and roll from the bohemian quintet. But for those who live in the L.A. area, you might be able quench your thirst at one of their next performances.
Words: Kristie Bertucci
Artist: The Venus Illuminato
Album: Children of the Earth
Release date: March 16, 2011